As ever, users are advised to switch to a number of suggested alternatives; "Microsoft Defender Application Guard for Office is being deprecated and is no longer being updated. This deprecation also includes the Windows.Security.Isolation APIs that are used for Microsoft Defender Application Guard for Office," Microsoft said.
Defender Application Guard for Office was a security feature designed to protect Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps within the Microsoft 365 environment. It was designed primarily for Windows 10 and Windows 11 Enterprise users.
Defender for Endpoint
With the app, users were being prevented from downloading files from unverified sources. Furthermore, all files would open within a secure sandbox, made possible with hardware-based virtualization. That way, the chances of being infected with malware through Office files was greatly reduced.
Going forward, users are advised to transition to Defender for Endpoint, and others: "We recommend transitioning to Microsoft Defender for Endpoint attack surface reduction rules along with Protected View and Windows Defender Application Control," Microsoft added.
Per BleepingComputer, Application Guard for Office was rolled out to all Microsoft 365 customers with the right licenses starting in 2021, but it first saw a limited preview to firms with Microsoft 365 E5 or E5 Security licenses (the highest tier) in November 2019.
In recent times, Microsoft has been hard at work trying to demotivate hackers from using its apps and programs to deliver malware. Last October it announced shutting down VBScript in future Windows releases, and before that, it said it would slowly sunset the WordPad app. Macros have been disabled in Office apps, and Windows Paint was terminated with the release of Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update (July 2017).
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.