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I have read up on compressed folders of file types such as .zip, .rar and .7zip being the malicious file itself (excluding cases such as an .exe file being disguised as a .zip file etc...), only requiring the user to open the file in their choice of program without even extracting the contents. How is this accomplished? Does the metadata of the .zip file itself need to be tampered with or is there anything to be done to the contents within to make them remain infectious even after compression has taken place, and then being able to infect the user from only interacting with the compressed folder?

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    "I have read up on compressed folders of file types ...." - please cite what you've actually read. But in general - archives are files within a specific format and processing of such formats can have bugs, similar with bugs in processing file system images, pictures ... Feb 1 at 21:53
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    "infectious even after compression has taken place" is a misunderstanding. These malicious archive files aren't created by the ordinary tools, whose purpose is compression. Think less of tampering with a file created by the normal tool, and more about crafting an exploit file from scratch. (Besides that, even the ordinary tools have the ability to store input files without compression)
    – Ben Voigt
    Feb 1 at 22:05

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A lot of what you are asking for has been addressed here:

https://superuser.com/questions/826746/can-you-get-virus-by-clicking-zip-file

TLDR: Clicking on a zip file does not cause infection but clicking on the malware within the zip file will execute the malware, which in turn can infect the system.

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