Samsung says the Galaxy S23 protects against malware hidden in image attachments

The Message Guard feature is designed to prevent zero-click exploits via messaging apps.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Zero-click attacks, which can install malware onto a device without the user clicking or tapping on anything, have been on the rise in recent years. To help fend them off, Samsung has developed a feature called Message Guard. It currently works on the Samsung Messages app and Google Messages on Galaxy S23 series devices, which just became available today.

Message Guard runs in the background. It isolates PNG, JPG, JPEG, GIF, ICO, WEBP, BMP and WBMP files that you receive in messages from the rest of your device. The tool checks images bit-by-bit and processes them to make sure they can't infect your device with malicious code, Samsung says.

The company plans to gradually roll out Message Guard to other Galaxy smartphones and tablets running One UI 5.1 or higher. Samsung says it will release an update that brings the protections to third-party messaging apps too.

Zero-click attacks can remain undetected by users even as the malicious code siphons their data off to hackers. According to reports, a zero-click attack installed NSO Group spyware like Pegasus onto iPhones used by activists, journalists, government officials and politicians via an exploit.

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