A self-replicating smartphone worm has taken control of an estimated one million handsets in China, leaving their users with an estimated £190,000 collective daily bill.
The staggering figures were revealed by local newspaper The Shanghai Daily, which claims that the worm takes remote control of unspecified smartphones and sends SMS text messages to contacts in the address book containing links to download other copies of the worm, as well as pay-per-click advertising.
The worm, which the newspaper calls a 'zombie virus,' first appeared masquerading as, ironically, a smartphone anti-virus package - but users thinking they were getting a bargain have been left severely out of pocket with text message fees mounting up for those infected with the worm.
If the newspaper's figures are accurate, it represents one of the most widespread smartphone infections to date, and is still spreading - racking up massive collective bills for each day that the worm is not treated.
Sadly, technical details are thin on the ground - it's not known, for example, what platform is affected by the worm.
The report clearly demonstrates that digital ne'er-do-wells are diversifying - and if those behind the worm are receiving even a fraction of the estimated daily bill of £190,000 that infected handsets are generating it's equally clear that crime does pay.