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Virus writers have created a new Symbian Trojan called Doomboot-A that loads an earlier mobile virus (Commwarrior-B) onto vulnerable smartphones. Doomboot-A also preventing infected phones from booting up properly. This cocktail of viral effects spells extra trouble for Symbian Series 60 smartphone users, especially those who play around with pirated games.

"Doomboot-A causes the phone not to boot anymore and Commwarrior causes so much Bluetooth traffic that the phone will run out of battery in less than one hour. Thus the user who gets his phone infected with Doomboot-A has less than one hour to figure out what is happening and disinfect his phone, or he will lose all data," writes Jarno Niemela, a researcher at Finnish anti-virus firm F-Secure.

"And what makes matters worse is that the Doomboot-A installation does not give any obvious clues that something is wrong, and Commwarrior-B does not have icon and is not visible in the process list. So the installation of Doomboot-A looks very much like failed installation of pirate copied game, and [a] user has hard time noticing that something bad is happening," he added.

Although several mobile Trojans have been used to spread the Cabir worm, Doomboot-A is the first Trojan to drop Commwarrior. Commwarrior-B can spread by both MMS and Bluetooth messages so it's nastier than Cabir, which only spreads using Bluetooth.

Doomboot-A, like most Symbian Trojans, poses as a pirate copy of a Symbian game (in this case Doom 2). Users who avoid pirated games or applications should be safe from infection.

Like all mobile malware threats to date, Doomboot-A is rare and largely a risk confined to people downloading content from dodgy sources. Mobile viruses, though still a threat, are much harder to catch than conventional Windows viruses. ®

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