Excel users were made aware of the new malware threats that could be launched by dark web hackers on the popular software. The reported malware threats by deep web hackers could steal users’ private information and disrupts its core functions. Recently, its parent company Microsoft disabled Excel 4.0 macros to prevent further virus attacks link to hackers from the deep web.
As a precautionary measure, Microsoft moved to protect its product, since Macros-enabled documents, which is one of the main components of Excel, have over time become the potent vector used in the launching of numerous malware threats.
With the imminent threat that could affect millions of Excel users, Microsoft’s engineers, by default, had completely blocked any form of a malware attack with the disabling of all Excel 4.0 Macros.
A report issued by the company is available for individuals to learn more about the protective action done by the company. The report titled Microsoft Excel 4.0 Macros Disabled by Default elaborates such action released in a post on the company’s blog. Additional information stated that Excel 4.0 (XLM) Macros were also suspended and made default with Microsoft’s latest Excel updates.
The popular Excel software uses Macros to easily perform repetitive tasks. Macros are powerful Excel utilities that help to facilitate ease of use for its millions of active users. Above all, by its dictionary definition, a macro runs on instructions created by a user, it makes repeated activities less exhaustive, because its performance is based on set data instead of manual commands that can be quite challenging.
Excel Macros Malware Hacks
The futuristic approach as documented by Microsoft is that the use of Macros in its Excel application, allows its consumers to record their own macros to automate daily tasks more easily and efficiently.
Furthermore, by creating a macro a user can utilize the same set of actions as many times as necessary. Essentially, when a user creates a macro, there is a recording of each keystroke and click of the mouse. However, while the use of macros enlightens the workload of Excel users, they are the main attack points for dark web hackers to launch a malware attack.
When deep web hackers infiltrate macros they can release malicious malware attacks, and these virus laden documents once released can easily be executed without any warning. Thus, with the ease of malicious execution that is done discreetly, the macros are frequently used to exploit and launch malicious threats such as viruses for phishing scams and ransomware.
Over the past few years, ransomware attacks have emboldened dark web hackers and robbed several companies of millions of dollars in ransom payments. And with the recent spike of ransomware attacks, Microsoft decided to protect its product as well as its millions of customers by disabling the Excel macros.
The first downgrade of macros by the tech giant occurred in July 2021, when it was relegated to an optional feature. But later in September, Microsoft made it default in more recent Excel versions. Gradually, Microsoft disabled the feature on the Excel build 16.0.14427.10000, accordingly, the macros 4.0 became a disabled default setting.
However, with all the changes by Microsoft to protect its product, Excel users still have the ability to modify their settings to enable or make changes to the time saving macros, which has made working with the software a much loved application.