A report by Finnish TV station MTV revealed that Nokia was extorted for millions of euros by blackmailers six years ago.
Nokia was forced to pay the amount to the blackmailers, who were threatening that they would reveal the source code of the Symbian operating system that the company used for its mobile phones.
The report said that the blackmailers were able to hack into Nokia's systems and steal the encryption code of the Symbian.
The hackers demanded a ransom of millions of euros in exchange for the source code, which Nokia management decided to pay. With the help of Finnish police, a bag containing the ransom money was delivered to a parking lot near a theme park in central Finland. Police saw the money being picked up by the hackers, but they were not able to catch the culprits.
To this day, the Finnish police said that the case is still open, as the blackmailers have not yet been identified and found.
"We are investigating felony blackmail, with Nokia the injured party," said Detective Chief Inspector Tero Haapala. However, Haapala declined to disclose additional details about the case.
Nokia was forced to pay the ransom because, besides the company wanting to keep the secret the framework of its operating system, anyone that has the Symbian's source code will be able to create seemingly legitimate applications. These applications can even look like official Nokia apps, making it very dangerous if the source code was used to develop malware and root-kits. Hackers can pass off their harmful files as official Nokia files, potentially damaging millions of Nokia users worldwide.
Six years ago, being able to have such destructive power over the Symbian was a grave threat, as Nokia then had over half of the market share of mobile phones worldwide, with a majority of the company's phones running in Symbian. While the company would eventually move away from the Symbian to use the Windows Phone operating system, the Symbian was then the most prevalent operating system for mobile phones in the world.
Earlier this year, Nokia was purchased by Microsoft for $7.2 billion. The deal will rename Nokia as Microsoft Mobile. If Nokia decided not to pay the ransom and allowed the hackers to release the source code for the Symbian, that would have damaged the company's reputation, and it would not have been acquired by Microsoft.