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Hackers using the James Webb Telescope’s first image to push malware

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Hackers using the James Webb Telescope’s first image to push malware
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One of the first images taken by Nasa’s James Webb Telescope is being used by hackers in a phishing scam.

A security analytics platform, Securonix, uncovered the new computer security threat that uses the James Webb Space Telescope‘s first public image to spread malware.

The attack called ‘GO#WEBBFUSCATOR’ reportedly starts with a phishing email containing a Microsoft Office attachment.

If a receiver opens the attachment, a URL within the document’s metadata downloads a file with a script, which runs if certain Word macros are enabled.

This, in turn, downloads a copy of Webb’s First Deep Field photo, containing malicious code masquerading as a certificate.

The malicious code in the image is apparently non-detectable by anti-virus programs.

In July, Nasa released the much-awaited debut picture from its £8.4 billion James Webb Space Telescope.

One of the reasons why the hackers chose the James Webb images could be because the high-resolution images Nasa had released come in massive file sizes, thus evading suspicion.

Securonix’s VP Augusto Barros told Popular Science that even if an anti-malware program flags it, reviewers might pass it over since it’s been widely shared online over the past couple of months.

The malware can be used to steal personal information from infected computers

The malware can be used to steal personal information from infected computers

The malware campaign also uses uses Golang, Google’s open-source programming language, a trend that is becoming popular according to Securonix.

This is because, unlike malware based on other programming languages, they have flexible cross-platform support and are more difficult to analyze and reverse engineer.

The best way to protect yourself from this attack would be to avoid downloading attachments from unfamiliar sources.


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