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

Posted: , posted by Maxwell R.

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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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