Attacks/Breaches

8/29/2011
11:50 AM
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Nokia Developer Site Hacked

E-mail addresses, user names, and other personally identifying information compromised in possible AntiSec breach.

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Smartphone maker Nokia, which is on the verge of porting its entire U.S. product line to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform, suffered an embarrassing security breach over the weekend that exposed personal information belonging to members of its development community.

As of Monday morning, forums on developer.nokia.com were offline, replaced with a message from the company about the attack. Nokia said the hack was perpetrated through a SQL injection into a database linked to the website.

The company did not say how many members had their information compromised, but admitted that the number is higher than first thought. "Initially we believed that only a small number of these forum member records had been accessed, but further investigation has identified that the number is significantly larger," Nokia said on a message posted to the site.

Nokia said most members of its development community only had their e-mail addresses compromised because that's the only information they provided to the site. But those who provided further details, such as birth dates, IM user names, and homepage URLs, may also have had that information stolen as well. Nokia estimates that the latter category of users represents less than 7% of the total number of members affected.

Prior to Nokia's shutting down of the site, visitors to the developer forums were greeted with an image of Homer Simpson shouting, "D'oh!" Above Homer's head was a caption that read, "Owned by pr0tect0r AKA mrNRG."

Users were redirected to a mirror page that bore a message mocking Nokia for weak security. "LOL, world's number 1 mobile company but not spending a dime for server security! ... patch your security holes otherwise you will be just another antisec victim." Antisec is a hackers' movement that targets corporate and government computer systems.

The company said that, so far at least, it has not received any reports of fraud, identity theft, or other criminal misuse of the stolen information. "We are not aware of any misuses of the accessed data, but we are communicating with affected forum members, though we believe the only potential impact to them may be unsolicited e-mail." Nokia added that it "apologizes for this incident."

Nokia said it has taken its developer forums offline "as a precaution" and that it it's further investigating the breach. It did not state when access to the forums might be restored.

The incident comes at a crucial time for Nokia. The Finnish company remains the world's largest manufacturer of mobile phone handsets, but is quickly losing market share to Apple's iPhone and to companies that manufacture smartphones that use Google's Android OS. Nokia is hoping to significantly boost its share of the U.S. market through a partnership with Microsoft. Under the deal, Nokia will introduce a new line of Windows Phone 7-powered phones later this year or early in 2012.

High-profile security breaches, however, could hinder its ability to lure privacy-conscious consumers and business users to its offerings.

The vendors, contractors, and other outside parties with which you do business can create a serious security risk. Here's how to keep this threat in check. Also in the new, all-digital issue of Dark Reading: Why focusing solely on your own company's security ignores the bigger picture. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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