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How To Scrub Off Metadata From Images Without Doing Much Work

Three easy-to-use ways to erase metadata for free with ease

By Sam Writes SecurityPublished about a year ago 4 min read
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How To Scrub Off Metadata From Images Without Doing Much Work
Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

In the office, you may deal with all types of files from pdf to XML, exe, and more. But, outside the office, you use photos, video calls, screenshots, Instagram, snapshot, tik-tok, WhatsApp, and more photos.

Think about the Social Media platforms I just mentioned, which one of them doesn’t require a profile, and what do we usually need in one besides a profile name? Exactly!

So, I decided to put these three easy ways together for you to try without any additional apps and knowledge about EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data.

Screenshots

Real photographs can be fingerprinted and contain EXIF data. Screenshots provide a timestamp and even that can go through editing so it’s one of the easiest ways you can use to remove metadata from a photograph.

Remember metadata is data that can help us identify even more data. With this, remember to only show on your screenshot what needs to be seen. The time, date, battery life, and carrier are some of the things that show when you take a screenshot. Make sure you crop your image before sharing them online or uploading to a certain website. Screenshots just like most digital artifacts contain metadata but the data on your screenshot is about that screenshot and not your real photograph. Find out what is metadata here.

I took a screenshot of a screenshot and cropped it. Read that again so it makes sense. The image is in no relation to our topic and contains no one in it it is actually a snapshot of some code from one of my virtual machines.

author screenshot

In terms of metadata this is what I get:

File Name : tyl.png

Directory : .

File Size : 130 kB

File Modification Date/Time : 2021:10:04 06:50:24+02:00

File Access Date/Time : 2021:10:04 06:50:33+02:00

File Inode Change Date/Time : 2021:10:04 06:50:32+02:00

File Permissions : rw-rw-r —

File Type : PNG

File Type Extension : png

MIME Type : image/png

Image Width : 814

Image Height : 277

Bit Depth : 8

Color Type : RGB

Compression : Deflate/Inflate

Filter : Adaptive

Interlace : Noninterlaced

Significant Bits : 8 8 8

Software : mate-screenshot

Image Size : 814x277

Megapixels : 0.225

Even though most of this may not help identify the program the code was written on and more it still points out the type of Operating System was in use. What can I say, the power of metadata?

Signal

signal official website

Signal is one of the best if not exactly the best WhatsApp alternative. Signal is free and Open-Source with a focus on privacy unlike Facebook (WhatsApp). Facebook bought WhatsApp and soon after Signal came about. Well, this messaging platform scrubs off metadata for you. In the same way that now people use Facebook’s messenger app for everyday Instant texts, some of us use Signal.

So, one way to remove all that personal info off your photographs is by uploading those pictures to this platform and magic happens.

You could also use WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat as an alternative for scrubbing metadata. The only problem with these alternatives is knowing whether or not a copy of the original file is saved somewhere in their database. Because as you probably know at this day and age what you put in is not what comes out.

If that was the case hacking websites would still be as easy it was before HTTPS was an option. And, not that it was that easy but you know what I mean.

Built-in image Editors

It’s that easy just edit your photos. You can add an emoji to your photos change the background color and all those things we add on to make things interesting and at the same time erase metadata. Because you’re basically creating a new file on top of an existing one.

author screenshot

This is the same image I used before, the changes are very noticeable and so is the metadata as follows:

File Name : tyl.png

Directory : .

File Size : 158 kB

File Modification Date/Time : 2021:10:04 07:10:20+02:00

File Access Date/Time : 2021:10:04 07:10:23+02:00

File Inode Change Date/Time : 2021:10:04 07:10:20+02:00

File Permissions : rw-rw-r —

File Type : PNG

File Type Extension : png

MIME Type : image/png

Image Width : 814

Image Height : 277

Bit Depth : 8

Color Type : RGB with Alpha

Compression : Deflate/Inflate

Filter : Adaptive

Interlace : Noninterlaced

Significant Bits : 8 8 8 8

Image Size : 814x277

Megapixels : 0.225

That’s it! It doesn’t get easier than this. Make every day a cyber security awareness day.

cybersecuritysocial mediatech newsphotography
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About the Creator

Sam Writes Security

Writer | Cyber Security Enthusiast

https://samwritessecurity.medium.com

"[email protected]"

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