How to disable macros on Windows and Mac OS X?

by Gabriel E. Hall - -

How to disable macros on Windows and Mac OS X?

Ransomware is definitely one of today’s most dreaded cyber infections. Their attacks can be very destructive and result in data loss, public exposure of sensitive data or financial loss, to name just a few.

According to the statistics, during 2016 nearly 50 percent of organizations have been targeted by some form of a file-locking virus, not to mention millions of infected computer users at home. Thus, cyber security experts urge institutions and private users to take proper precautions to secure their data and prevent potential attacks.

Creating data backups is undoubtedly the most guaranteed way of keeping the valuable information safe and ensuring its easy recovery after some unexpected breach. But what about ransomware prevention? Is it really possible to fight off such viruses? Unfortunately, there is no 100% effective recipe that would allow us to be fully active on the web and, at the same time, be confident about our security.

Nevertheless, there are some things you might do to diminish the risk of ransomware attack. Needless to say, you should always keep your software and operating system up-to-date and obtain a virus-protection software to provide you with a real-time support.

While most users take care of the previously mentioned steps, some forget that 59 % of ransomware spread via email attachments that carry infected Word documents designed to execute macro-based attacks. Macros is a feature which allows automating various tasks via series of predetermined commands. Sadly, hackers adapt this script to deploy malware on targeted computers.

Most ransomware will not be able to launch unless Macros enabled; thus, it is advisable to keep this functions disabled by default. Keep in mind that OS X also shares this feature, so if you are a Mac user, do not forget to switch it off on your device as well! Below you will learn how to disable Macros on Windows and Mac OS X.

Disabling Macros on Windows:

  1. Open Microsoft Office document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) and go to the File tab;                                      
  2. When the drop-down menu shows up, select Options;                                               Disable Macros on Windows. Step 2
  3. Locate Trust Center and click it. Now click the Trust Center Settings… button;Disable Macros on Windows. Step 3
  4. Go to Macros Settings and, once there, choose one of the two top disable all Macros options. Click OK to save changes;
    Disable Macros on Windows. Step 4
  5. Reboot your PC.

Disabling Macros on Mac OS X:

On Mac OS X versions starting from 2016 and up, Macros is usually disabled by default, so you do not have to worry about switching it off. Nevertheless, you can still check if everything is in order following these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Office document on your Mac;
  2. Click on the title of the application (Word in example) which you will see in the menu bar above, next to the Apple icon. When the drop-down menu shows up, go to Preferences;Disable Macros on Mac OS X. Step 1
  3. When the new window shows up, navigate to Personal Settings and select Security & Privacy;Disable Macros on Mac OS X. Step 2
  4. In a new window, make sure that the checkbox next to Warn before opening a file that contains macros is checked;
    Disable Macros on Mac OS X. Step 3

Hopefully, these instructions will help you add that very needed additional layer of protection to your device and reduce the risk of ransomware infiltration.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

Gabriel E. Hall is a passionate malware researcher who has been working for 2-spyware for almost a decade.

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