Samsung’s Message Guard: The Silent Guardian Against Image-Based Malware

Feb 19, 2023, 6:30 PM UTC
3 mins read
Samsung’s Message Guard: The Silent Guardian Against Image-Based Malware
(Image Credit: Samsung)

Samsung has introduced a new security feature, called Samsung Message Guard, for its Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets. The feature has been designed to protect users against “zero-click” cyberattacks that are disguised as image attachments in messages. Zero-click attacks install spyware and other malicious code onto devices without any interaction from the owner and have become increasingly common over the last few years. They are particularly dangerous as they often leave a little trace and victims may be completely unaware that their device has been compromised.

In response to this growing threat, Samsung has created a zero-click antivirus for messages that automatically quarantines and neutralizes potential threats concealed within PNG, JPG/JPEG, GIF, ICO, WEBP, BMP, and WBMP format image files before they can cause any harm. When a Galaxy device receives a text message with an image attachment, Samsung Message Guard isolates the image file from the rest of the device to lock down any potentially malicious code. The feature then scans the image before processing it to ensure it can’t infect the device.

The new Samsung Message Guard feature is available now on Galaxy S23 series phones, which were released on February 17th, and will eventually be rolled out to other Galaxy smartphones and tablets running One UI 5.1 or higher later this year. The feature currently works on Samsung Messages and Messages by Google, and will eventually be made available to undisclosed third-party messaging apps via a software update “at a later date.” The best part is that the feature doesn’t need to be activated by the user and runs silently and largely invisibly in the background, according to Samsung.

Zero-click attacks have become a significant threat in recent years, with one of the most notable examples being the Pegasus spyware incident discovered by Citizen Lab in 2020. The flaw in the iOS/iMessage system was exploited to install spyware onto the phones of journalists, politicians, and activists between 2017 and 2020. It is therefore heartening to see that Samsung is taking proactive steps to prevent such attacks from occurring in the first place.

Samsung’s new Message Guard feature is an innovative and much-needed addition to the smartphone security landscape. The feature can help prevent zero-click attacks before they occur by automatically quarantining and neutralizing potential threats, keeping Galaxy device owners safe and secure. With the feature running silently and invisibly in the background, there is no need for users to worry about activating it or adjusting any settings, making it an effortless way to add an extra layer of protection to their devices.

Samsung’s Message Guard: The Silent Guardian Against Image-Based Malware
(Credit: Samsung)

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