According to Finnish TV station MTV, Nokia has paid millions of Euros to hackers and other criminals. Nokia paid off hackers who threatened to release the source code for their operating system Symbian. This was confirmed by police, who stated they were investigating a case of the alleged blackmail. While this happened a few years ago, police say the case is still open.
Detective chief inspector Tero Haapala said, “We are investigating felony blackmail, with Nokia the injured party.” Haapala declined to give further details. Nokia is also unavailable to comment on this situation.
The MTV report revealed that hackers were able to acquire the encryption key for the core component of the Symbian operating system from Nokia. The hackers threatened to make this information public. If hackers were able to acquire this code, they could’ve very easily created malware disguised as Symbian. If so, the malware could’ve potentially been indistinguishable from the real OS.
After the hackers had attempted to blackmail Nokia, the company contacted the police alerting them to the situation. Nokia agreed to deliver the cash amount to the parking lot in Tampere, located in central Finland. Police were also brought to capture the criminals. Unfortunately, the money was acquired by the criminals, and they were able to escape the police.
At the time of this ultimatum, Symbian was very important and relevant within the mobile industry, holding a 50% market share in 2007. Symbian was available not only on Nokia devices, but also third party devices. Such data leaking would have been very damaging for Nokia.
Obviously now, Symbian is virtually irrelevant. After the company struggled to make a strong debut in the smartphone market against competitors such as Apple and Samsung, Nokia began developing Windows based smartphones. This year, Microsoft purchased the entirety of Nokia for 5.6 billion euros.