A report from MTV—not of Teen Mom, Real World and Snooki & Jwoww fame—claims Nokia was once blackmailed by European criminals way back when. Finnish police have allegedly confirmed the news to Reuters, saying the case is still open, though Nokia declined to comment. The criminals reportedly threatened to reveal source code for Nokia’s Symbian software, which was a popular option before Android and iOS.
It gets weirder. Espionage-level weird.
In an effort to stop the source code from being revealed, Nokia allegedly paid several million euros to keep these criminals quiet. According to MTV, the blackmailers had somehow acquired the encryption key to Symbian; if released, there was potential for hackers to do all kinds of wrong, not least of which to write malware. So Nokia agreed to pay up for fear of losing control of its software.
Nokia contacted police before agreeing to a drop off point with the blackmailers, but once the criminals picked up the money, authorities somehow lost track of the culprits. Were the cops that inept? Are these criminals that smart? Were some of the police in on it? So many questions, so few answers. The ironic thing is that there aren’t even any new Symbian smartphones. Microsoft eventually became Nokia’s savior, first persuading the company to exclusively use Windows Phone, and then acquiring the Finnish company.
Even though the case is still open, it’s unclear if authorities are any closer to catching the criminals. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, the police are probably more embarrassed than anything they couldn’t catch the thieves in the first place.