Microsoft Will No Longer Block Macros by Default in Office Apps

Months after disabling the macros by default in several Office applications, Microsoft is now rolling back this change to before – leaving them to the user’s discretion.

While Microsoft is yet to make a public announcement, it started informing system admins through the Microsoft 365 message center. This left netizens in confusion, as many demanded a proper explanation from the company, and also since facing issues to enable macros.

Enabling Macros by Default

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it’ll block VBA macros by default on certain Office 365 apps (Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Word), for the sake of protecting users against potential cyberattacks.

Threat actors use this macro, which is capable of running petty processes automatically, to install various malware like Emotet, TrickBot, Qbot, Dridex, etc – all to steal data from people, reconnaissance, or use their systems as bots for other malicious operations.

While it’s good that Microsoft decided to block them by default, it’s rolling back on this plan citing the community feedback! On Thursday, the company started notifying system admins in their Microsoft 365 message center as;

“Based on feedback, we’re rolling back this change from Current Channel. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received so far, and we’re working to make improvements in this experience. We’ll provide another update when we’re ready to release again to the Current Channel. Thank you.”

This change is coming to v2203, starting with Current Channel (Preview) in early April 2022, and reaching the general users in June 2022. Well, the community is still raged (1, 2, 3) for not providing an appropriate reason (besides citing as community feedback) for this rollback.

Many have demanded Microsoft make a proper public announcement, as they’re unable to enable the macros even after a new change. Office 365 users, when clicking the ‘Learn more‘ button in the new security warning, are redirected to an article explaining to them the security risks of enabling Office macros, but not the option to enable it.

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