Cyber crims blackmailed Nokia

Nokia appears to have paid millions of euro to protect an encryption key of the Symbian phones being made public by a hacker.

MTV News investigative team found that in 2007 Nokia became a target of extortion and ended up paying several millions of euro in ransom.

Detective Superintendent Tero Haapala of the National Bureau of Investigation confirms that the case is still unsolved and is being investigated as aggravated extortion.

It appears that the blackmailer had acquired the Symbian encryption key used for signing. The code is a few kilobytes in size and would have meant that Nokia phones would have been jailbroken and any hacker could have placed their code under the bonnet.

At the time half of the smartphones sold in the world were manufactured by Nokia and ran on Symbian.

When Nokia paid the money it was promised that the key would not be misused. It is not known how the key ended up in the hands of the blackmailer but it is fairly likely that it was hacked.

Nokia did report the matter to the police which began to investigate the case. The ransom payment was made in the Finnish city of Tampere. The money was left in a bag at a parking lot nearby Särkänniemi amusement park.

But the drop off was botched. The blackmailer took the bag and the coppers lost track of him. Police never found the blackmailer and the case is considered unsolved. To be fair, the blackmailer honoured his agreement and the key was never revealed.  Due diligence, we’ve heard of it, Microsoft.