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Nokia paid software blackmail demand in 2008 to prevent Symbian leak

Paid millions, according to reports
Wed Jun 18 2014, 09:26

Nokia E71NOKIA WAS ONCE THE VICTIM of a blackmail shakedown attack that it capitulated to and paid millions.

The Finnish firm, as it was at the time, was approached by criminals in 2008, according to a press report that has been confirmed with Finnish law enforcement by Reuters.

The report said that criminals approached the firm saying that unless they were paid millions they would release its software source code.

While Nokia has not commented, the Finnish police have, and confirmed an investigation to the European news agency. "We are investigating felony blackmail, with Nokia the injured party," said detective chief inspector Tero Haapala.

The press report from broadcaster MTV said that the blackmailers had an encryption key for Symbian source code and threatened to release it. Nokia told the police and a plot was hatched.

Nokia was to give the money to the shakedown crew and be reunited with its source code. Unfortunately only some of this plan went as expected.

Nokia dropped the money off, and it was picked up by its intended recipients, but the Finnish coppers lost the blaggers and they got away, presumably with all those millions.

With that result in mind we consider the advice given to individuals that find themselves at the receiving end of a shakedown. Then, with ransomware encryption attacks, punters are advised to resist the temptation to pay the threatened charge, restore from backups and strengthen security instead. This advice is probably solid enough for enterprises to follow, too.

This week we heard that dough and tomato sauce seller Domino's was a target for blackmailers that wanted a relatively thin crust payment of £30,000. Domino's didn't pay, but the hackers didn't carry out the threat. We don't know if anyone got pizza. µ


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