updated 01:48 pm EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
Police, Finland media agency corroborate story, thought to be urban legend
Phone manufacturer Nokia apparently fell victim to a blackmail threat. According to reports, the company paid several million euros six years ago to hackers who threatened to release the encryption key to Symbian. Finnish Detective Chief Inspector Tero Haapla said of the reports that "we are investigating felony blackmail, with Nokia the injured party."
Nokia contacted the police after hackers delivered the blackmail demands. The cash was delivered to a parking lot in Tampere, Finland. The police lost track of the pickup crew after the money was handed over.
The reveal of the encryption key would have laid the OS bare to all, with miscreants able to write code that would have both been transparent to users, and treated by the phone as an integral part of the system. This flaw would have been a privacy and security nightmare for the operating system, which commanded about 50 percent of the market at the time.
Reports have circulated for years that Nokia was the victim of a scheme by industrial thieves, but no confirmation was ever given. Today's revelations by Finnish television station MTV and the corroboration by the police are the first confirmations that the event was real, and not an urban legend.