Nokia blackmailed for millions of Euros six years ago


Blackmailers who threatened to reveal source code belonging to Nokia managed to get away with payment of several million Euro, it has been claimed.

Finnish TV Station MTV made the claim. It said that about six years ago, criminals who had access to the source code behind the Symbian mobile operating system blackmailed the phone company.

The crooks reportedly threatened the firm that they would leak this if they weren't given a large sum of money, thought to run into several million Euro.

Finnish police confirmed that they were investigating the matter and that the case is still open.

"We are investigating felony blackmail, with Nokia the injured party," Detective Chief Inspector Tero Haapala told Reuters. The police declined to give any further details.

MTV claimed that the criminals hacked into Nokia's systems and stole part of the source code of its Symbian OS, the platform that used to use almost all of Nokia's range of phones.

The hackers then demanded money in return of the source code snippet and threatened to release the code if Nokia did not comply. The TV station (no relation to music channel MTV) said the blackmailers had acquired the encryption key for a core part of Symbian. Had this key been made public, any criminal could have created malware using the key that would make it virtually indistinguishable from legitimate software.

It is alleged that Nokia decided to pay the money and then contacted the police.

At the time of the incident, Nokia had around 50 per cent market share and Symbian was in use by not just Nokia but other phone companies as well. Today, Nokia phones run mostly on the Windows Phone platform. Nokia's market share has declined markedly within the last seven years.

We contacted Nokia for a comment on the story but it hadn't responded at the time of publication.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.