Nokia paid millions to criminals that stole Symbian encryption key

Posted on Wednesday, Jun 18 2014 @ 13:12 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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ZD Net spreads news that Nokia had to pay millions of euros to blackmailers in 2007-2008 to keep the its Symbian operating system safe. According to Finnish TV station MTV, criminals managed to steal Symbian's encryption key and threatened to make it public if Nokia didn't pay.

With the encryption key, cybercriminals would have been able to create malware and rootkits that appeared to be legitimate Symbian applications or even Nokia programs and operating system upgrades. At the time, Symbian was the most important mobile operating system and Nokia had to trust the thieves on their word that they wouldn't use the encryption key to produce malware if the company paid up.

Nokia reportedly enlisted the help of the police and delivered the ransom in a bag of cash to a parking lot near an amusement part in Tampere, central Finland. The money was picked up but the police lost track of the blackmailers.
At the time, Nokia had just over 50 percent of the world phone market and the vast majority of these phones were running Symbian. Apple's iPhone had just been released in June 2007 and Android was only a beta. Android 1.0 would not be released until September 2008. Although Nokia would start abandoning Symbian only three years later for Windows Phone, Symbian was at that time the most important mobile operating system in the world.
At present, Symbian has a marketshare of 0.2 percent.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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