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The title says it all, I was wondering if some malicious code could be placed in the image file (the formats I am concerned with are JPEG, PNG and WEBP, basically the common formats available when you download from google), for example as metadata, so that it would be executed when opened (or simply downloaded but that seems less likely), and if such malicious images can be obtained from Google Images after rightclicking on it after a search and selecting "save image as".

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  • Is it possible? Sure. Will it have a specific effect on your devices? It depends on the vulnerabilities in the software you use to view the files.
    – schroeder
    May 11, 2020 at 10:18
  • Any file type can have malware. It's up to the program that runs/opens it if it will have an effect.
    – schroeder
    May 11, 2020 at 10:19
  • Google Images is just a search engine. Google doesn't host the files. So the fact that they are on Google Images is meaningless. They are hosted by the site that hosts them.
    – schroeder
    May 11, 2020 at 10:21
  • The suggested duplicate is wrong. Your question is different. I was about to write an answer, but since this question is now closed, I'll just leave a short comment. Answer: very unlikely, if not impossible. Reason: the images you see on Google searches come from Google, and they have been re-encoded to make them smaller. It is very unlikely, if not impossible, that embedded malicious code can survive such process. Also try this with the "Artist's shit" image from Wikipedia: strings -a original.jpg will print metadata, dates, etc. The re-encoded image from Google won't.
    – reed
    May 11, 2020 at 10:25
  • Note that if you click on the images (left-click), Google might fetch the original one in the preview. If you right-click on them though, apparently you are only going to get Google's re-encoded (small) images.
    – reed
    May 11, 2020 at 10:27

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