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Office 365 Updates Apps with Antimalware Scanning Access

Bad actors can take advantage of the macro and scripting capabilities in Office. Recent Office 365 updates are giving these apps a new tool for detecting and dealing with the threats.

Security threats abound in our connected world and those intrusions can lead to loss of critical business data, user and customer information plus serious loss of productivity while recovering from the malicious attacks. One security area that does not get as much coverage as compared to ransomware/malware related attacks: those that occur due to the macro and scripting capabilities of apps in the Office suite of software. This week Microsoft is reporting a resurgence of these types of attacks and will make changes to help combat the threat. Recent Office 365 updates are adding a new layer of security within Office to catch these malicious macros and scripts before they threaten your network.

Microsoft has been working to minimize these threats through better detection of malicious macro/script executions via cloud security solutions such as Windows Defender Advance Threat Protection (ATP). They are using the open Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) to implement this new protection. By using the AMSI for this service, other antivirus services can use the same open interface and benefit from the increased detection and security.

With the implementation of AMSI in these Office 365 updates, malware authors will now see their most popular method of concealing threat code, obfuscation, no longer nearly as effective. AMSI’s availability on Windows 10 with an open interface means any security software can request a scan of questionable code before it is executed. AMSI works with JavaScript, VBScript and PowerShell scripting engines.

Microsoft has been using AMSI in its security products for quite some time and this latest addition via these Office 365 updates adds yet another level of protection for your end users.

There are several examples in Microsoft’s blog post about these updates for further clarity plus implementation and group policies for configuring this in your organization.

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