Currently all office files and even images lead a series of hidden data called metadata. Through them you can extract information about who edits the document, its software version, if they access servers, etc. If you have not taken proper care about the metadata of your files then third parties may get a chance to use the information of your’s or your company’s. The presence of metadata makes it very easy to attack and sneak into your system. Also meta-data may even jeopardize your privacy.
Today every user should know what meta-data is and how to remove them in order to restrict the third parties from attacking your system. If an office document has not deleted the corresponding metadata, then huge amounts of information can be extracted from them. This information can be from the username of a system to the version of software that performs the document.
In addition to the Office documents, images also possess this meta-data, and by extracting this we can get a truly compromising information, such as geographic location , i.e, the exact place where you have taken the photo, or even recover the original shape and size of photos if that are modified. This is really dangerous, because with the technology that we have today and the number of photos that we have on social networks like Facebook , someone could easily know our geographical location in minutes after we upload a photo.
Metadata: the beginning of the attack :
One of the main methods used by hackers to steal information is metadata extraction. Using Internet search engines they can easily download all files of a company, either pdf, word, excel … and can extract information from them (unless the meta-data was deleted).
By using a number of tools you can have a structural map of the internal network of a company. This may contain data related to users, servers to which they have access, software releases and operating systems and can even have some extract passwords. All this can be done through extraction of such meta-data is a way to get enough information, and therefore makes it easier to perform security attacks.
How to extract metadata:
There are number of programs that extract metadata from one or more files at once almost automatically . One of the best known application for the extraction of metadata is the FOCA . This program has been developed for 64 bit operating computers. It performs two tasks, one is meta-data extraction and next is network map formation with extracted metadata.
This program is used by many specialized security professionals to perform penetration testing , and is also available for free, you can download it from their website.
And Now, Its for you to decide if you are you going to continue publishing photos without deleting their metadata or not!