Home SECURITY Application Guard can block non-trusted Office documents

Application Guard can block non-trusted Office documents

Application Guard can block non-trusted Office documents
  • Defender Application Guard is a defence framework designed to firewall untrusted files.
  • Microsoft has announced that its Workplace Protector Device Protect is now available for public beta administrators.
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With the last fix case on Tuesday, we’ve also had a list of 147 bugs, 128 of which were found in Microsoft devices.

But it’s easy to see that the tech giant is searching at ways to secure its devices and customers.

Probably with this in mind, Microsoft has announced that its Office Defender Application Guard is available for public preview admins.

What is Defender Application Guard?

Defender Application Guard is a security device that operates like a large sandbox by isolating and examining untrusted Office documents before they enter the operating system and do any harm.

A blog post on Microsoft’s Tech Culture site discusses how the Protector Program Shield works:
Microsoft Office can access files from potentially dangerous positions in Microsoft Defender Application Protection, a protected container separated from the system by hardware-based virtualization.
As Microsoft Office opens files in Microsoft Defender Program Protection, the user can read, write, print, and restore files safely without needing to re-open files in the container.

Application Guard is not a new technology, but it was launched in 2018 and was planned for the old Markup version of Microsoft Edge.

And the company was much bolder back then because it produced virtualized copies of Windows and Edge using HyperVisor company.

That was a way to build a stable browsing environment without putting the individual OS and browser instances at risk. And if you had completed the session, the simulated instanced would have been discarded.

How does the Application Guard for Office work?

The Workplace Program Guard takes equivalent measures for Text, Excel, or PowerPoint workplace papers. Not those you make on your computer, but those you copy from the Internet or some other potentially untrusted source.

For eg, if you try to open a Word document that you just got in your Outlook, the file would start in the sandbox of the Application Guard that stops potentially dangerous code from spreading to your Desktop.

The technology seems to be fine, but the minimum hardware specifications listed by Microsoft are very high:

  • CPU: 64-bit, 4 cores (physical or virtual), virtualization extensions (Intel VT-x OR AMD-V), Core i5 equivalent or higher recommended
  • Physical memory: 8-GB RAM
  • Hard disk: 10 GB of free space on the system drive (SSD recommended)

What do you think about the Workplace Program Guard? Post your thoughts in the comment section below.


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