Microsoft is going to block Excel add-ins that are loaded over the internet

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Microsoft is going to block the ability to load add-ins into Excel from the Internet. According to the company, this possibility has been increasingly abused in recent months to spread malware.

Microsoft writes in a road map that it will block add-ins in Excel from the Internet from March. These are XLL files that can be used to add extra functionality to the spreadsheet software. Add-ins, unlike add-ons, do not need to be installed as an executable file. They can be loaded directly at the same time as Excel itself. This is certainly problematic with Microsoft 365 products, because Excel can be used online there. That only applies to Excel; other Office applications, such as Word, only allow admins to load add-ins.

According to Microsoft, this poses a security risk. For example, an XLL add-in can be loaded into Excel from different sides. This can be done via phishing websites, but also via e-mail. In addition, an XLL can be programmed to execute code on a system and cause relatively high damage.

According to Microsoft, there has been an increase in malware spread via add-ins in recent months, but the company does not provide specific details. “Due to the increase in malware attacks in recent months, we are taking measures to block XLL add-ins coming from the Internet,” Microsoft writes. From then on it is only possible to load add-ins from the local system.

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