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How to hide malware in images

Any hiding place is good for cybercriminals looking to infect our devices with malware, even a photograph. To do this, attackers must resort to digital steganography, which consists of hiding one file in another so that users are unaware of what they are actually downloading.

According to cybersecurity company Securonix, images taken by the James Webb have been used for this type of cyberattack. Generally, users who download such fraudulent files, believing them to be harmless, do so through websites or are attached in emails.

The ways in which malicious code can hide behind a digital photo can be very diverse. For example, it can be added to the end of a file, by adjustments to individual parts of the code, by changes to the file's metadata, and so on.

Regardless of the method used, the computer virus sneaks into devices and can cause anything from system damage to extracting personal and banking data from victims.

Unlike executable files, images often seem more harmless and more curious to download. While an app is usually less likely to be installed, not as many can resist looking at a photograph, especially if it's one of the amazing space captures NASA is releasing from Webb.

How to avoid downloading a fraudulent photo?

Browsers often have a feature to block the downloading of images when they are viewed from an email. For example, in Chrome, users must access 'Privacy and security' within the settings, go to 'Site and image settings' and select the option to only view images and not download them.

In addition, in case of downloading a picture, web surfers should pay attention to any suspicions in sent emails or web pages to avoid any scares. With the Webb images, for example, it is best to go to the official NASA website.

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