The practice of embedding code in files refers to inserting executable or script code into a file so that it can execute when the file opens. This technique is used often by attackers to distribute malware or perform other malicious actions.
There are many ways code can be embedded in files. An attacker could insert code into metadata in an image or audio file using a tool, or use steganography (hide the code within the pixels and bits of the file). You can embed code into documents files such as Microsoft Office PDFs and Microsoft Office Office documents by attaching it as a file object, or using macros.
The attacker can distribute the file via email attachments, website downloads or social media posts once the code has been embedded in the file. The embedded code executes when the victim opens the file. This could allow the attacker to gain access or perform other malicious activities.
Code-embedded files can be difficult to detect and protect against. An embedded image file may look just like any other file. A PDF with embedded codes may also appear normal. This can make it harder for victims to spot the code and make it easier for attackers to deliver the file.
There are many tools and techniques available to protect against code-embedded file detection and protection.
Antivirus software, for example, can scan files for known malware and block or quarantine any suspicious files. To block traffic from known malicious file types and IP addresses, network firewalls or intrusion prevention systems may also be set up to monitor or block them.
User education and training are also effective ways to prevent the spread code-embedded file. Organizations can reduce the chance of successful attacks by teaching their users to be cautious about opening files from unknown sources, and to look out for suspicious activity.
Embed Code Into Picture Files
You can embed code in picture files to carry out attacks using a variety of tools. Some examples include:
ExifTool: An ex-command-line utility that allows you to read, write, and edit metadata in a wide range of file formats including image files. ExifTool is able to insert malicious code in the metadata of a photo file.
steghide is a command-line utility that hides data from audio and image files. Steghide allows you to insert a script, or executable, into an unutilized part of a picture file. This makes it hard to detect.
OutGuess is a tool to hide data in images by using steganography. OutGuess allows you to insert a script into the pixels of your picture file. This makes it difficult for others to find.
Embed Code Into PDF Files
You can embed code in PDF files to carry out attacks using a variety of tools. Some examples include:
pdftk is a command-line utility that allows you to manipulate PDF files. Pdftk allows you to insert scripts or executables into PDF files by using the command “attach_files”.
pdf-parser is a tool to analyze and parse PDF files. Pdf-parser is a tool that extracts and analyzes code embedded in PDF files. This includes code intended to perform attacks.
Peepdf is a Python-based tool that analyzes and manipulates PDF files. Peepdf allows you to insert scripts or executables into PDF files, and to extract and analyze embedded code in PDF files.
Code-embedded files, which are commonly used by hackers to distribute malware and other malicious activities, can be found in many places. These files are difficult to find and pose a serious threat to individuals and organizations. It is possible to reduce the threat of code-embedded file attacks and protect yourself from these types of threats by using firewalls, antivirus software, and user education.