The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has recommended businesses Configure Microsoft Office Macro Settings to minimise the risk of cyber-attacks. Hackers can use macro viruses, or malicious macros, to infiltrate a computer network and run malicious code (malware). Macros enter a network via Microsoft Office documents which have been downloaded online, attached to emails or via infected files transferred from one computer network to another.
Whilst programs have the option to disable all macros, Microsoft macros are designed to automate repetitive tasks in Microsoft Office programs; specifically, Excel and Word. This means many businesses rely on macros to operate efficiently on a daily basis.
Smart configuration of macros is therefore key to ensuring businesses minimise risk, whilst maximising productivity. Configuration of Microsoft Office Macro Settings is included in our Cybersecurity Management System (CSMS) packages from the GOLD level up.
Configuring macro settings dramatically increases protection from macro viruses (malicious macros). A core issue is that malicious macros are malicious microprograms which can ultimately run any function the creator has instructed. The key is to stop the macro running, even if someone accidentally clicks on a dangerous email.
Macro viruses are often the result of someone clicking on a malicious email or downloading an infected file online. Often this mistake is innocent, however, if a company does not have appropriate macro settings, the malicious macro can cause grave companywide damage. Yet the macro can also cause damage to the user, such as sending emails from their inbox or creating and deleting files or images. Further, the macro can find personal information, resulting in individual extortion. Configuration of macro settings can prevent both business and personal exposure.
A key tactic of active malicious macros is to instruct Microsoft Outlook to send an email to a large number of contacts, with the malicious macro attached. This means that if a macro virus gets onto your system, your clients and contacts could also be at risk.
Once installed onto a computer, macro viruses not only run dangerous microprograms on a computer, but they also cause a mass slowdown of systems. This may occur before the user even knows they have been hacked.
‘Phishing’ scams are when hackers use email, spam or fake websites to convince the victim to give them personal information such as passwords and credit card details. Phishing emails often look like they are from trusted organisations, such as banks, government bodies or Australia Post. The email appears real and will ask the user to download an attachment; which is ultimately a malicious macro. Whilst configuring macros will not stop phishing emails, it will prevent the macro from running on the computer in the case the email is accidentally opened.
There is a range of approaches to macro-management, from disabling all macros to implementing case by case file management which puts the user in charge of which macros to enable or not. Our approach is to undertake advanced configuration via enabling digitally signed macros to enable common/known macros to undertake their daily operations and block any unknown macros from running. Our central management of this system ensures that any new trusted macros are also allowed to run. This improves the general day to day hassle of determining which macros are safe and which are viruses.
Get in touch with our friendly team, we can provide you with all of the information you need to make the best decision for your business.Contact Us