The Microsoft Access 2013 Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) is published as a tool to improve the security of Department of Defense (DoD) information systems. Comments or proposed revisions to this document should be sent via e-mail to the following address: [email protected]
Disabling of user name and password syntax from being used in URLs must be enforced.
The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) standard allows user authentication to be included in URL strings in the form http://username:[email protected] A malicious user might use this URL syntax to create a hyperlink that appears to open a legitimate website but actually opens a deceptive (spoofed) website. For example, the URL http://[email protected] appears to open http://www.wingtiptoys.com but actually opens http://example.com. To protect users from such attacks, Internet Explorer usually blocks any URLs using this syntax.
This functionality can be controlled separately for instances of Internet Explorer spawned by Office applications (for example, if a user clicks a link in an Office document or selects a menu option that loads a website). If user names and passwords in URLs are allowed, users could be diverted to dangerous Web pages, which could pose a security risk.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Enabling IE Bind to Object functionality must be present.
Internet Explorer performs a number of safety checks before initializing an ActiveX control. It will not initialize a control if the kill bit for the control is set in the registry, or if the security settings for the zone in which the control is located do not allow it to be initialized.
This functionality can be controlled separately for instances of Internet Explorer spawned by Office applications (for example, if a user clicks a link in an Office document or selects a menu option that loads a web page). A security risk could occur if potentially dangerous controls are allowed to load.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Saved from URL mark to assure Internet zone processing must be enforced.
Typically, when Internet Explorer loads a web page from a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) share that contains a Mark of the Web (MOTW) comment, indicating the page was saved from a site on the Internet, Internet Explorer runs the page in the Internet security zone instead of the less restrictive Local Intranet security zone. This functionality can be controlled separately for instances of Internet Explorer spawned by Office applications (for example, if a user clicks a link in an Office document or selects a menu option that loads a web page). If Internet Explorer does not evaluate the page for a MOTW, potentially dangerous code could be allowed to run.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Navigation to URLs embedded in Office products must be blocked.
To protect users from attacks, Internet Explorer usually does not attempt to load malformed URLs. This functionality can be controlled separately for instances of Internet Explorer spawned by Office applications (for example, if a user clicks a link in an Office document or selects a menu option that loads a web page). If Internet Explorer attempts to load a malformed URL, a security risk could occur.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Links that invoke instances of Internet Explorer from within an Office product must be blocked.
The Pop-up Blocker feature in Internet Explorer can be used to block most unwanted pop-up and pop-under windows from appearing. This functionality can be controlled separately for instances of Internet Explorer spawned by Office applications (for example, if a user clicks a link in an Office document or selects a menu option that loads a web page). If the Pop-up Blocker is disabled, disruptive and potentially dangerous pop-up windows could load and present a security risk.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Trust Bar Notifications for unsigned application add-ins must be blocked.
If an application is configured to require all add-ins be signed by a trusted publisher, any unsigned add-ins the application loads will be disabled and the application will display the Trust Bar at the top of the active window. The Trust Bar contains a message informing users about the unsigned add-in. If the Trust Bar were to be allowed while add-ins are required to be signed by a trusted publisher, the user would have the ability to make the determination to allow an unsigned add-in, which increases the risk of allowing malicious code to run on the user's computer and on the network.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Trust access for VBA must be disallowed.
VSTO projects require access to the Visual Basic for Applications project system in Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, even though the projects do not use Visual Basic for Applications. Design-time support of controls in both Visual Basic and C# projects depends on the Visual Basic for Applications project system in Word and Excel. By default, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint do not allow automation clients to have programmatic access to VBA projects. Users can enable this by selecting the Trust access to the VBA project object model in the Macro Settings section of the Trust Center. However, doing so allows macros in any documents the user opens to access the core Visual Basic objects, methods, and properties, which represents a potential security hazard.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
The Save commands default file format must be configured.
When users create new database files, Access saves them in the new Access format. Users can change this functionality by clicking the Office button, clicking "Access Options", and then selecting a file format from the default file format list.
If a new database is created in an inappropriate format, some users might be unable to open or use it.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Prompts to convert older databases must be enforced.
When users open databases that were created in the Access 97 file format, Access 2013 prompts them to convert the database to a newer file format. Users can choose to convert the database or leave it in the older format. Disabling this setting ensures Access 2013 prompts the user, and is therefore unlikely to cause usability issues. Otherwise, if Access 2013 was allowed to automatically convert the database, it may be converting outdated code which is not compatible or tested with the newer version. In addition, if the database is used by multiple users, there is the potential of making the database inaccessible to other users who may not be using Access 2013.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Database functionality configurations must be displayed to the user.
When users open an untrusted Access 2013 database that contains user-programmed executable components, Access opens the database with the components disabled and displays the Message Bar with a warning that database content has been disabled. Users can inspect the contents of the database, but cannot use any disabled functionality until they enable it by clicking Options on the Message Bar and selecting the appropriate action.
The default configuration can be changed so that users see a dialog box when they open an untrusted database with executable components. Users must then choose whether to enable or disable the components before working with the database. In these circumstances users frequently enable the components, even if they do not require them. Executable components can be used to launch an attack against a computer environment.
Disabling this setting enforces Access 2013 to display the action items, so is unlikely to cause usability issues.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
The configuration for enabling of hyperlinks must be enforced.
Access underlines hyperlinks that appear in tables, queries, forms, and reports. If this configuration is changed, users might click on dangerous hyperlinks without realizing it, which could pose a security risk.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Add-on Management functionality must be allowed.
Internet Explorer add-ons are pieces of code, run in Internet Explorer, to provide additional functionality. Rogue add-ons may contain viruses or other malicious code. Disabling or not configuring this setting could allow malicious code or users to become active on user computers or the network. For example, a malicious user can monitor and then use keystrokes users type into Internet Explorer. Even legitimate add-ons may demand resources, compromising the performance of Internet Explorer, and the operating systems for user computers.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Protection from zone elevation must be enforced.
Internet Explorer places restrictions on each web page users can use the browser to open. Web pages on a user's local computer have the fewest security restrictions and reside in the Local Machine zone, making this security zone a prime target for malicious users and code. Disabling or not configuring this setting could allow pages in the Internet zone to navigate to pages in the Local Machine zone to then run code to elevate privileges. This could allow malicious code or users to become active on user computers or the network.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
ActiveX Installs must be configured for proper restriction.
Microsoft ActiveX controls allow unmanaged, unprotected code to run on the user computers. ActiveX controls do not run within a protected container in the browser like the other types of HTML or Microsoft Silverlight-based controls. Disabling or not configuring this setting does not block prompts for ActiveX control installations, and these prompts display to users. This could allow malicious code to become active on user computers or the network.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
File Downloads must be configured for proper restrictions.
Disabling this setting allows websites to present file download prompts via code without the user specifically initiating the download. User preferences may also allow the download to occur without prompting or interaction with the user. Even if Internet Explorer prompts the user to accept the download, some websites abuse this functionality. Malicious websites may continually prompt users to download a file or present confusing dialog boxes to trick users into downloading or running a file. If the download occurs and it contains malicious code, the code could become active on user computers or the network.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Scripted Window Security must be enforced.
Malicious websites often try to confuse or trick users into giving a site permission to perform an action allowing the site to take control of the users' computers in some manner. Disabling or not configuring this setting allows unknown websites to:
-Create browser windows appearing to be from the local operating system.
-Draw active windows displaying outside of the viewable areas of the screen capturing keyboard input.
-Overlay parent windows with their own browser windows to hide important system information, choices or prompts.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Add-ins to Office applications must be signed by a Trusted Publisher.
Office 2013 applications do not check the digital signature on application add-ins before opening them. Disabling or not configuring this setting may allow an application to load a dangerous add-in. As a result, malicious code could become active on user computers or the network.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
Access 2013 application must be prevented from loading any custom user interface (UI) code.
This policy setting controls whether Office 2013 applications load any custom user interface (UI) code included with a document or template. Office 2013 allows developers to extend the UI with customization code that is included in a document or template. If this policy setting is enabled, Office 2013 applications cannot load any UI customization code included with documents and templates. If this policy setting is disabled or not configured, Office 2013 applications load any UI customization code included with a document or template when opening it, leaving the Office 2013 application susceptible to malicious code.Information Assurance OfficerSystem AdministratorECSC-1
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