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Mumbai, May 25: It’s been confirmed — The Da Vinci Code is bad for you. The virus, that is. A computer bug bearing the controversial film’s name has affected dozens of mobile phones and laptops in the city.

The virus, which spreads via wireless Bluetooth technology, causes a message to pop up on Bluetooth devices: ‘Receive message via Bluetooth from Da Vinci Code?’ Once a curious mobile phone user accepts the message, the virus enters the system and destroys the phone’s data.


This image appears on the desktop and photo gallery of infected phones

A picture depicting an eye and a cross appears on the desktop and phone’s gallery. 

System crash

Mridul Sharma (32), an operations manager at an event management firm, received the virus during a corporate presentation a few days ago. “The Da Vinci Code name actually excited me. I assumed  the file was either an MMS clipping or a still and accepted it.

My entire system collapsed and data was deleted. I had just bought my Nokia N91 handset worth Rs 31,000 and had to pay Rs 1,500 to format my mobile hard disk and reload the software,” said Sharma.

Common virus

“I received the virus on my laptop and phone. Apparently my Bluetooth device was active. The technician who repaired my phone told me this was a common virus, which had simply been renamed The Da Vinci Code to attract the users,” said 35-year-old Sanjay Menon.

Abhishek Datta, a software expert, said, “Once a phone is affected, formatting is the only option. You cannot retrieve your data.”
 
Types of viruses

Skulls: A Trojan horse called Skulls, once downloaded, replaces all phone desktop icons with images of a skull

Comwar: A worm that spreads vis MMSes and Bluetooth. It infects devices running under Symbian pperating system

Duts: The first known virus for the Pocket PC platform. It attempts to infect all EXE files in the current directory
 
Tips on staying safe from the deadly virus

- Be careful when accepting files via Bluetooth
- Delete messages from unknown senders
- Reinstall infected programmes
- Download ringtones and games from official websites only

  

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