Researchers at the McAfee Security division of Network Associates said on Thursday that they discovered the first virus to infect JPEG files.
Called W32/Perrun, the virus is a proof-of-concept and hasn't been seen "in the wild," said McAfee AVERT researchers, who rated the virus as low-risk.
David Emm, product marketing manager for McAfee AVERT, said someone sent the virus sample to AVERT researchers. "We received this one and took a look at it. It struck us as a little different--not so much in terms of what it is, but in terms of what could follow it," he said.
"It's the first time we've seen any virus or worm try to drop code into this type of file," Emm added.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a standard used for compressing still images. An infected JPEG file, however, isn't enough for W32/Perrun to spread to another machine because it would require an extractor file to extract and execute the virus code from the tainted JPEG file, Emm said.