Are PNG Safe to Open?
Published April 11, 2023
Inside This Article
Portable Network Graphics, also known as PNG is a popular image format that is commonly used on the internet. And because of how easily downloadable they are, you may wonder whether opening a PNG image is safe or not. Are they still safe to open after converting PNG to PES files online? In this article, we'll look into their security and share with you all that's needed for protecting yourself against malicious codes hidden in any PNG image file.
- PNG is a popular image format, allowing images to remain crystal clear while occupying minimal storage space. Its lossless compression means that no image data gets lost during the transfer process resulting in sharper visuals.
- PNG images may look harmless, but they can carry malicious code that puts your computer's security at risk. They can be tools that hackers employ for cyber attacks.
- There are several ways to protect yourself from any malicious code in PNG image files. This includes installing antivirus software, verifying the source of the file, constantly updating your software to the latest versions, and disabling image preview.
What Are PNG Images?
PNG images are types of digital image files that are used to store images on computers and other devices. The PNG format was developed to replace the older GIF image file format, which had limitations on the number of colors it could display. PNG images are commonly used for icons, logos, and other graphics on websites.
How Do PNG Images Work?
PNG images are a popular format for digital images because of their lossless compression. This method of compression reduces the file size of an image without compromising the quality of the image itself.
Why Are PNG Images Popular?
PNG images are perfect for graphics with text and logos as they use a lossless compression process. This allows the file size to be reduced but still maintains the sharpness of edges, making them ideal for websites or large format prints where clarity is important.
With their support of transparency, PNG images have become a go-to choice for designing logos and graphics. This incredible feature provides an unlimited amount of possibilities when it comes to incorporating them into webpages or other artwork.
Can PNG Images Be Dangerous?
Yes. Though most PNG files from public browsers are safe to download, there are still underlying risks. Malicious hackers can use this popular file format as a vector for malware and security exploits within the software— making it important that online viewers remain vigilant when handling these files.
Malware in PNG Images
Threat actors which are great at hiding malware in a PNG image file can infect your computer. This malicious software can be viruses, worms, and Trojans that are sometimes distributed as an executable file or a ZIP file.
Exploit of Security Vulnerabilities in Software
Hackers tend to use PNG files as a tool by hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in your computer software. Hackers can use specially crafted PNG images to crash software, execute malicious files or steal sensitive data from your computer.
How To Open PNG Images Safely?
Keeping your computer protected is a top priority. To help with this, here are some helpful tips for opening PNG files securely:
Use Antivirus Software
Protect your valuable data and personal information from malicious code by keeping up-to-date with the most sophisticated antivirus software available. Don't forget to configure it so that all incoming files - including PNG files- are thoroughly scanned for malware before being downloaded. Many antivirus software programs such as Norton Antivirus, McAfee Antivirus, and Avast Antivirus offer the ability to scan individual files and folders for viruses and malware.
You can also use a firewall which acts as a barrier between your computer and the internet, only allowing safe and authorized traffic to pass through while blocking any unauthorized or potentially dangerous executable code.
Check the Source of the Image
Be mindful of the origin of your PNG files. It's wise to steer clear of them if they come from an unfamiliar source. However, if you must access it for any reason – make sure that a reliable antivirus program has scanned through it first and given the all-clear before proceeding.
Keep Your Software Up to Date
Make sure all your software, including your operating system, web browser, and image viewer, is up to date. Software updates provide necessary security fixes, which can help stave off any risks posed by PNG files. Most software updates also include increased security protections.
Disable Image Preview
This function can help protect your computer from malicious PNG files. Keep yourself safe from malicious images by disabling image previews in your mail and instant messaging software. By doing this, you can prevent any potentially harmful PNG files from automatically loading onto your device.
Be Cautious While Browsing the Internet
As you navigate the cyber world, be mindful of where your clicks take you. Steer clear from clicking on any suspicious links and only download files that come from a trustworthy source.
What To Do If You Suspect Your PNG Image Is Malicious?
If you suspect a PNG image in your computer may be malicious, here are four essential steps to take:
- Do not open the image: If you suspect that an image is malicious, the first and most important step is to avoid opening the file. Verify the source of the image file again.
- Run an antivirus scan: You should run an antivirus scan immediately on the file. Do not wait since you may be giving the malware time to infect your computer.
- Locate the malicious files (and their hidden files): If the antivirus scan confirms that it is a malware PNG file, locate them immediately. For Windows, go to the Tools menu > select Folder Options > click the View tab > click the radio button "Show hidden files and folders" > click OK. For Mac users, you can find secret files within a folder through Finder, press Command + Shift + . (full stop/period).
- Delete the files and restart your computer: If the antivirus scan confirms that it is a malware PNG file, manually delete the file immediately and permanently. This also means clearing your Bin/Recycle Bin. After deleting, restart your computer.
Remember that prevention is key when it comes to malware and viruses. Always use caution when downloading and opening files, especially if you're not sure about the source.
Indeed, PNG image files may look harmless, but hidden malware within them can open your computer up to serious security risks. Stay vigilant in defending against malicious activities like those embedded in PNGs - with just some simple steps you can help ensure the safety of your device!