However, Doomboot.A is not considered a serious threat, since the number of infections is currently small, said Ero Carrera, a researcher at the anti-virus software firm F-Secure, which is based in Helsinki, Finland.
Nevertheless, the Trojan, first reported July 1, is considered particularly nasty, because it can wreck a smartphone if it's not quickly disinfected.
Doomboot.A typically begins infecting a device via Bluetooth short-range data transmission link. An infected smartphone sends a message that pops up on the screen of a Symbian phone within 10 feet to 30 feet, asking whether the user wants to download a game, Carrera said. If the user clicks on the link, the virus is downloaded. If a person turns off an infected phone, it will not reboot. "When the phone is switched off, it's not going to come back again," Carrera said.
Doomboot.A also carries another virus, called Commwarrior.B, which is the software used to transmit the cellphone-killing Trojan over Bluetooth. Commwarrior uses up battery life by constantly searching for other phones. As a result, a phone usually needs to be recharged soon after infection. "You have about an hour to disinfect," Carrera said.
Despite the maliciousness of Doomboot.A, it's not expected to spread widely, because it eventually makes infected phones useless. Anti-virus software for Doomboot.A and Commwarrior.B is available through F-Secure and other security companies.
Smartphones are advanced mobile phones capable of browsing the web, sending email and attachments and accessing a variety of data services. Symbian Series 60 smartphones are available from a variety of manufacturers, including LG Electronics, Lenovo, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Sendo and Siemens.