Nokia paid extortionist millions for stolen encryption keys

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Nokia paid extortionist millions for stolen encryption keys
Nokia N8, a Symbian OS phone.

Perpetrator still on the loose.

Mobile technology vendor Nokia was forced to pay an extortionist several million euros not to misuse a stolen encryption key in 2007 it has been revealed, as details of the historical case finally emerge.

According to Finnish-language broadcaster MTV the encryption keys were used to sign applications for smartphones running the Symbian operating system, to ensure they were approved by Nokia.

How the unidentified blackmailer got hold of the encryption key was not revealed. The blackmail attempt took place in 2007, when Nokia was still the number one smartphone vendor in the world with Symbian holding a dominant, half marketshare.

While Nokia reported the matter to the Finnish police, the company also agreed to pay a ransom. In a scene reminiscent of a movie script, a suitcase with money was left at a parking lot in the Särkänniemi amusement park in the city of Tampere.

MTV reports that "then, things went wrong" with the blackmailer taking the suitcase with money but the police losing track of it and the person.

The case is still open, with the Finnish police investigating the matter as aggravated extortion, detective superintendent Teero Haapala told MTV.

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