Microsoft, in a recent announcement, has revealed its plan to phase out VBScript in future versions of Windows to enhance the platform's security and block malware delivery. A programming language that was introduced almost 30 years ago in August 1996, VBScript, also known as Visual Basic Script or Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition, has been a core component of the Windows operating system.
In the short term, Microsoft will make VBScript a feature on-demand, before its ultimate removal from the operating system. The company will initially preinstall the VBScript feature on demand to ensure uninterrupted use while users transition towards the discontinuation of VBScript.
Putting a Cap on Malware Infections
The decision to deprecate VBScript is believed to be a part of Microsoft's more significant plan to control the spread of malware through its platforms' features. By limiting VBScript, a common infection vector used by threat actors to distribute malicious payloads such as Lokibot, Emotet, Qbot, and DarkGate malware, among others, has been eradicated.
The company has taken similar steps in the past, including implementing support for Anti-Malware Scan Interface (AMSI) to Office 365 applications in 2018, to prevent attacks. Others include the disabling of Excel 4.0 (XLM) macros, the introduction of XLM macro protection and the default blocking of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Office macros.
A Future without VBScript
While this decision might have come as a surprise, it appears to be a logical step considering Microsoft's efforts to protect its users from cyber-attacks. Given the prevalence and severity of such attacks, proactive measures like these are both necessary and appreciated.
It is yet unclear when Microsoft will completely remove VBScript from future versions of Windows. However, the move is already symbolic of the company's resolve to stand firm against cyber threats, thereby setting the stage for a safer internet era.