The Importance of Restricting Macros

The Importance of Restricting Macros

25 Mar 2024
Tech Insights

In this segment of our ongoing Essential 8 series, we discuss the importance of Step 6; “Restricting Microsoft Office Macros,” as recommended by the Australian Cyber Security Centre. In this blog, we explain what Restricting Macros means and outline some practical, often simple approaches that can be taken to protect your systems and data from malicious macros.

What does “Restricting Microsoft Office Macros” mean?

In simple terms, Microsoft Office Macros are similar to small scripts that automate repetitive tasks, streamlining your work for greater efficiency. Restricting macros is like putting a lock on your door, acting as a safeguard that prevents cybercriminals from exploiting them, but still allowing legitimate users to continue their work.

While macros may boost productivity, they can also pose a cybersecurity risk, as criminals can manipulate them by adding harmful code. This manipulation converts macros into carriers or pathways for the spread of malicious software, posing a significant threat to the security and integrity of computer systems. But we can protect against exploitation while also harnessing the potential of macros for legitimate use!

Different Approaches to Protect Your Systems

Selective Enablement

Successfully navigating macros requires businesses to strike a balance between operational efficiency and heightened security. Since not all users need macros for their work, disabling macros for those who don’t need them will add an extra layer of security. Think of it as giving the key only to those who really need to open the door.

Internet Origin Firewall & Antivirus

Just as we exercise caution about who enters our homes, it’s equally crucial to be discerning about where our macros come from. Blocking macros in files from the internet is similar to having a firewall that efficiently keeps potential threats at bay. Additionally, antivirus scanning acts like a guard, carefully checking every macro for possible dangers before giving it the green light. This dual approach ensures a secure working environment, shielding your system from potential risks associated with macros obtained from the internet.

User-Proof Security Settings

Imagine if anyone could change the locks on your doors… Not ideal! Similarly, ensuring that users can’t change the security settings for Microsoft Office macros will add an extra layer of protection. It’s about keeping control in trusted hands.

Summary Steps To Making Your Business Bulletproof

1. User-Specific Macro Access: Disable macros for users who don’t need them for their tasks, reducing the potential points of vulnerability.

2. Internet File Firewall: Block macros in files from the internet, safeguarding your system against potential threats originating from online sources.

3. Antivirus Safeguards: Enable antivirus scanning for Microsoft Office macros to ensure that every script is thoroughly vetted for potential risks.

4. User-Locked Security Settings: Prevent users from changing security settings for macros, maintaining a consistent and secure environment.

5. Educating Users: Regular training programs, awareness campaigns and simulated phishing drills will give staff the ability to spot and respond to potential dangers, complementing technical safeguards.

Monitoring, Review, and Continuous Improvement

Staying vigilant through ongoing monitoring ensures that your security measures can adapt to emerging macro-based threats. External expertise and cutting-edge technology play a pivotal role. When you consult with cybersecurity specialists, they can educate your teams, offer personalised strategies, and bring in advanced detection and response technologies.

Whether you’d like your business to receive the education and tools for self-management or have us take care of it for you, we’re here to assist. Get in touch with Cloud Connect today to strengthen your company against macro-based threats and improve your overall cybersecurity defences.

Contact us today

If you would like to learn more about how Cloud Connect can help your business please fill out the form and our friendly team will be in touch shortly, or give us a call today on (08) 9481 4988.

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