BlackBerry mobile phone owners in the United Arab Emirates are at risk from an unauthorised update that could seriously damage their handset.
According to reports, the update was sent by Etisalat, a local telecommunications company, which promised that downloading it would improve the handsets' capabilities.
However, upon completing the download owners' phones became prone to crashes and suffered reduced battery life.
Those affected could also have been exposed to a major security breach, with third parties able to access sensitive personal information.
The rogue software is believed to have been distributed to 145,000 BlackBerry owners and has prompted BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) to deny any involvement with the update.
A statement from the firm read: "RIM confirms that this software is not a patch and it is not a RIM-authorised upgrade. RIM did not develop this software application and RIM was not involved in any way in the testing, promotion or distribution of this software application.”
Etisalat has yet to comment on the matter.