Source: Nokia Regularly Gets Blackmailed, Pays Off the Culprits
June 19, 2014 12:38 PM
comment(s) - last by
Largest ransom totalled "several million" Euros
An intriguing pair of reports reveals that reveal Nokia Oyj. has been regularly blackmailed on security issues by former employees or outside hackers in the past decade. And the company usually opted to pay up, in at least one case paying out several million Euro.
The new story comes shortly after a report by
Nokia paid millions of euros to a blackmailer to protect an encryption key of the Symbian phones. The extortion took place around the end of the year 2007.
When Nokia paid the money it was promised that the key will not be misused. It is not known how the key ended up in the hands of the blackmailer.
The situation, however, progressed rapidly, and 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.
Then things went wrong. The blackmailer took the bag. Police, however, lost track of the blackmailer and the money was gone.
At the time of the blackmailing, Nokia remained the smartphone market's dominant superpower with roughly half of smartphones sold running Symbian.
The Helsinki Times
confirms and fleshes out
that report with new details that range from amusing to eyebrow raising.
Finnish phonemaker Nokia left several million Euro in a hockey bag for its blackmailer.
[Image Source: Quacker Design]
Of the 2007 demand, it was reported that the blackmailer was suspected to be one of many Nokia's former employees (which doesn't exactly narrow the search given that tens of thousands of Finns had worked at the phonemaker) and that the extortionist made the unusual step of demanding Nokia donate a matching sum to charity.
Writes the paper, citing "two different sources":
Nokia believes the blackmailer to be a Finnish citizen who participated in the development of the user interface. The suspect was able to obtain the highly-classified encryption key due to a data security vulnerability.
According to well-informed sources, the suspect demanded that half of the ransom be delivered to a pre-determined location in cash and the other half donated to charity. Nokia, the sources tell, delivered the cash in an ice hockey equipment bag to the designated location in Tampere and made the donation.
"A well informed ex-Nokia employee" shares how the company's executives labored over the decision to pay the ransom:
The ransom demand was delivered to Nokia in English by e-mail, while the decision to comply with it was taken at the highest echelons of the company.
The paper also writes that "a former Nokia executive" shared with it that this was far from the first incident, albeit being much larger than most. The Finnish news agency states:
Nokia received a number of similar, albeit less serious, demands for rewards from third parties for the detection of vulnerabilities in its software, hardware or services. Nokia often complied with the demands.
At least one of those other incidents is being looked into by Finland's
National Bureau of Investigation
(KRP) -- Finland's equivalent of the FBI. The KRP continues to investigate the 2007-2008 incident of the Symbian key extortion attempt, as well. It recently opened "a pre-trial investigation,” however; it is unclear whether the KRP is any closer to revealing the blackmailer's identity. Without someone to charge, it's hard to have a trial.
Finnish National Bureau of Investigations and Police Headquarters [Image Source: Matti Tossavainen/Stad]
As for Nokia, one could certainly draw some humorous conclusions about its willingness to pay off petty extortion demands. Nokia was
heavily criticized for hiring
former Microsoft Corp. (
) software executive
Stephen Elop as its CEO in Sept. 2010
. Mr. Elop denied being a "Trojan horse", but would three years later in Sept. 2013
deliver Nokia's profitable devices unit, gift wrapped to Microsoft
roughly $7.2B USD
. Many felt that Nokia caved too quickly to Microsoft's demands and sold the devices unit for less than it was worth.
On the flip side, Nokia's willingness to cooperate, whether with ransomers or (perhaps exploitive) OS partners has saved it to some extent, as others in similar situations have suffered far worse. AOL and Sony Corp. (
) were among the
companies that since 2000 paid billions
refusing to work with hackers and capitulate
to their demands. As a result both companies suffered extensive loss of customer data and service disruptions. Compared to that, paying off a few million Euros isn't really that bad an outcome.
Nokia is today once more profitable. [Image Source: Atmospheric Endeavors]
The reports are intriguing as we often hear rumors of corporate extortion of tech giants by hackers, but seldom due we hear it exposed in such explicit detail.
Nokia was likely targeted because it was Finland's top tech firm and was
among the world's most profitable tech companies
back in 2007. Today it's
smaller, but once again profitable
. And it should be wary of hackers and its
legion of laid off former workers
blackmailing it. After all, not only does it clearly now once more have the money to pay, its history also suggests that it's willing to pay extortionists' demands.
MTV News Finland
Helsingin Sanomat (The Helsinki Times)
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
MTV Finland has nothing do with Music Television
6/22/2014 11:58:55 AM
Just wanted to clear that one a bit. Back in the day MTV3 used to be the commercial nation wide TV-channel over here, there were 2 channels run by Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) and this 3rd one was the commercial alternative. Since then they have dropped the number 3 and expanded into other mediums...
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
Microsoft Lavishes Nokia's "Trojan Horse" CEO With $25.5M
September 19, 2013, 7:20 PM
Microsoft Purchases Nokia's Devices and Services Division for $7.2B
September 3, 2013, 12:00 AM
Nokia Releases Earnings, Confirms It's Now Profitable
January 24, 2013, 11:15 AM
Nokia Shakes Up Executive Ranks, Will Eliminate 10,000 Jobs by the End of 2013
June 14, 2012, 3:17 AM
Bringing Great Shame to Their Family: Sony Hacked Yet Again
May 24, 2011, 3:43 PM
Quick Note: Toshiba to Restructure PC Business, Cut 900 Jobs Worldwide
September 18, 2014, 1:40 PM
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 U.S. Pre-orders Start Sept 19, Launches Oct 14
September 18, 2014, 10:15 AM
Amazon Releases New and Refreshed Kindle Fire Tablets, Announces Fire OS 4
September 17, 2014, 10:23 PM
Apple Launches iOS 8 for iPads, iPhones
September 17, 2014, 1:54 PM
Apple Cripples NFC in iPhone 6, 6+ With Developer Ban
September 17, 2014, 1:00 PM
5.7" ZTE ZMAX "Phablet" Coming to T-Mobile Sept 24 for $252
September 17, 2014, 11:50 AM
Most Popular Articles
Quick Note: Buy an Xbox One Sept 7-13, Get a Free Game
September 4, 2014, 10:42 AM
Apple Announces Its Smartwatch: The $349 Apple Watch
September 9, 2014, 2:09 PM
Dell Announces "World's Thinnest" Tablet: The Venue 8 7000 Series
September 11, 2014, 8:51 AM
Windows 9's Latest Metro Start Menu Leaks, German Site Accidentally Outs Leaker
September 11, 2014, 8:36 PM
T-Mobile Launches Un-carrier 7.0, Beefs Up Wi-Fi Calling
September 11, 2014, 2:56 PM
Latest Blog Posts
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information