Symbian encryption keys were once held for ransom, Nokia paid millions

Symbian encryption keys were once held for ransom, Nokia paid millions
Long before the era of Windows Phone, or even the iPhone, Nokia was king of the mobile phone industry as a whole, and more than half of the smartphone market on top of that.

Nokia’s smartphones were run by the Symbian operating system. In 2007, during the time when Nokia was offering devices like the E61i, and the N95, a blackmailer managed to acquire the encryption key to the operating system, a file only a few kilobytes in size.

How the code was acquired has not been revealed, but the blackmailer extorted Nokia for millions of euros on the threat of releasing the key in the open. If that had happened, there would have been no way for Nokia to guarantee that the devices in use would be not be subject for non-approved applications finding their way on the handsets.

Nokia paid the demanded ransom, for which the blackmailer promised that the keys would not be used improperly. Of course, the payment was made after the authorities were alerted, so when Nokia delivered the bag of cash in Tampere, Finland, law enforcement intended to follow whomever made the pick-up. Unfortunately, the perpetrator gave them the slip and escaped with the cash. The case is still open and unsolved.

sources: Reuters and MTV News via Engadget

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11 Comments

1. skyline88

Posts: 696; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

wow. just WOW.

2. a_tumiwa

Posts: 393; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

the story is like a movie story

3. Anonn

Posts: 230; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

That was stephen elop. Will not reveal anything more !!

4. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

No doubt, symbian was insecure and laggy OS, even though it was functional for its time.

6. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

That's so true. I had iPod Touch and Symbian phone at the same time and iOS was just decades ahead of it. So much smoother, faster, more responsive, better looking, more polished, better app store, better working and looking default apps, better security etc. Though Symbian was pretty functional and you could customize it with themes, it was a pretty crappy OS and only reason to have it was (suprise) Nokia hardware.

7. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

+1 Sir, I have the N70 lying in my drawer, Its still rock Solid, but it is seriously laggy(opening the app launcher takes 2 seconds), but even back then it had multitasking which was amazing for 2007.

9. tasior

Posts: 265; Member since: Nov 04, 2012

I have old Nokia N97 mini (433Mhz 128 mb ram), and it works much faster, than my old Xperia mini pro (1ghz, 512ram). Back then hardware specs were much lower, so no wonder it wasn't fluid.

5. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

I just read the same article from Finnish news. The police failed pretty badly, the bag was left to parking lot of a big Finnish amusement park and "something went badly wrong" so the guy ran away with money.

8. tatail

Posts: 261; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

If in fact this is true then +1 to the BlackMailer at least he/she kept his/her word and not released the encryption key in the open.

10. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Maybe now would be the time to release the encription key file to the dev community so they could keep symbian alive for a while longer. Just a thought.

11. Darkerm

Posts: 319; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

I lost count of how many symbian device I used and boy I still love Symbian. The experience I had with this Awesome OS will always remember it till the end. :')

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