New botnet malware is attacking Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson smartphones running Symbian operating systems, mobile security firm NetQin has warned.
The vulnerable Symbian operating systems are the 60 platform third edition (Symbian OS 9.1) and the S60 fifth edition (Symbian OS 9.4) according to US reports.
The malware is typically hidden in games for Symbian smartphones, which when run, execute the malware to give the author control over the devices.
In this way, targeted smartphones become part of a botnet, and can be used to launch further attacks on other devices, said NetQin.
Some versions of the malware access the contact list on the infected smartphone to send out links to malicious sites, covering their tracks by deleting all traces of the messages sent.
NetQin estimates that 100,000 mobile phones worldwide are vulnerable to the malware.
Malware aimed at smarphones is not new, but stumbling onto a virus by downloading a mobile application is a relatively new threat, said NetQin.
Many security threats that were once only spread on PCs are now moving to mobile devices driven by financial incentives, including making phones spend money on services controlled by attackers, the firm said.