Malicious Macros vba in Microsoft Word

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Booklet Formatting and Printing in Microsoft Word
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Macros and VBA
Malicious Macros vba in Microsoft Word
Master Documents Feature in Microsoft Word
A Back CoverPage in Microsoft Word
Normal Template in Microsoft Word - How to Open or Find the Normal Template
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Moving (Sharing) Customizations in Microsoft Word
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Naming Files - A System is the Key
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Why would someone send a malicious macro?

This is my response to the above question on TechNet. The user had set his system to accept all macros. This is not a good idea.

  1. Vba macros are very powerful. They can take over your entire system or lurk in the background.
  2. Malicious macros can steal your passwords and potentially your banking info.
  3. Malicious macros can turn your computer into a slave being used for malicious  purposes against others, tracing back to you. This can be a background process.
  4. Malicious macros can get other confidential information from your computer.
  5. There are people out there who enjoy demonstrating their skills by messing with others.
  6. Search Google for "Ransomware." Here is the Wikipedia article.

I am a big user of macros, both my own and those written by others. Just as I use software developed by others, I use macros developed by others. However, I want to know who is responsible. I want to know what it does. By allowing all macros to run, I turn control of my computer over to unknown others. Because Word has incorporated good security and it is applied by default, Word macros are not really a problem if the user exercises ordinary prudence.

I am a lawyer and my computer contains confidential information. I also do transactions online, both for myself and for my clients. I do not want unknown others to have access to that.

 

What are best practices going forward?

These are personal opinions. This page is not based on industry standards nor has it been vetted by anyone else.

I set my Trust Center Settings as follows:

This is misleading. This does NOT really stop all macros. It stops all unauthorized macros. If macros are not otherwise authorized (i.e. if they come in on a file from someone else) then you are asked if you want to allow them to run.

Even the box saying Disable all macros without notification does not truly disable all macros. It simply means that if a document comes in with macros and you have not already given permission for using those  macros, they will be disabled and you will not be asked about it or told about it. If they are from trusted publishers or you put them in a trusted location, they will run, also without notification.

All of my own macros are in templates stored in trusted locations.

The three in the Red Box above are trusted by default. They are the User Templates folder (the location where your normal.dotm template is stored), the default Word Startup Folder, and the folder holding templates that come with Word. Those may be the only locations you need. Your own macros, stored in any of those locations will be able to be run without any warnings or messages.

I currently have only one Trusted publisher listed: Bill Coan, an MVP with whom I have personally dealt. I do have code from many other MVPs in my Trusted Locations.

I find these sufficient because I am the only one who has physical control over my computer. I suspect that they would be sufficient for you as well.

Another level is to require that macros be digitally signed. I used to digitally sign my macros but decided I did not need that.

The screenshots are from Word 2013. They would be similar in Word 2007 and later. Similar protections were in Word 2003. These are Windows versions. Word for the Mac has similar settings. Again, the default installation will be to Disable All Macros Without Notification, which means all except those in the default trusted locations.

These are my personal opinions. You need to exercise your own judgment. If you allow no macros, period, you are cutting yourself from one of Word's most powerful features. You may need to do this, just as you may need to have your computer isolated and with no Internet access.

 

 

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Using Date Fields in Microsoft Word
Calculated Dates
Booklet Formatting and Printing in Microsoft Word
Changing the Default Font in Microsoft Word
Document linked to Printer in Microsoft Word
Fonts Missing from Menu in Microsoft Word
How can I get a different header / footer on the second page?
Heading? Header? Microsoft Word Help
More on Headers and Footers in Word
Letterhead
I want the filename in the footer of every document.
Mapped Content Controls and Document Properties
Moving/Reorganizing Pages in Microsoft Word
Weird Lines and Borders
Macros and VBA
Malicious Macros vba in Microsoft Word
Master Documents Feature in Microsoft Word
A Back CoverPage in Microsoft Word
Normal Template in Microsoft Word - How to Open or Find the Normal Template
My docs open in the wrong program! Re-registering Word using the commandline.
Moving (Sharing) Customizations in Microsoft Word
Global StyleSheet?
MVP means?
Naming Files - A System is the Key
Posting tips in the Microsoft Word Forums
Getting rid of that (*)#"@^ paperclip! - Taming the Office Assistant
Page X of Y doesn't work in Microsoft Word!
Save Changes to the Global Template? Keeps Popping Up
Templates in Microsoft Word
Global Templates
Too Many Icons on the Taskbar in Microsoft Word 2000
Getting Rid of the Web Toolbar in Microsoft Word
Word for Word Perfect Users
Favorite Documents Menu
Work Menu in Microsoft Word
Templates Menu in Microsoft Word
What books have been recommended about Microsoft Word?
Where can I find more templates?
Word Links

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