The French unit of the Russian security software developer Kaspersky Labs said on Tuesday that that virus - called Cabir - appears to have been developed by an international group specialising in creating viruses which try to show "that no technology is reliable and safe from their attacks". 

Cabir infects the Symbian operating system that is used in several makes of mobiles, notably the Nokia brand, and propagates through the Bluetooth wireless technology present in several new mobile phones. 

If the virus succeeds in penetrating the phone, it writes the inscription "Caribe" on the screen and is activated every time the phone is turned on. 

Set to multiply

It is able to scan for other phones using Bluetooth to send a copy of itself. 

According to the anti-virus software developer F-Secure, the discovery of Cabir is proof that the technologies are now available to create viruses for mobile phones and that they are now known to the writers of computer viruses. 

Anti-virus experts have been warning for months that mobile phone viruses are set to multiply, given the increasingly diverse uses of mobile phones.