Nokia Misery Continues: Developer Website Hacked, User Data Compromised

by Gaurav Kheterpal on August 30, 2011

Once upon a time, Nokia was the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Apple and Google were yet to make their presence felt while RIM was largely confined to the enterprise segment. Fast forward a few years later and Nokia is a different company altogether.

Last month, the Finnish giant posted significant losses as it continues the arduous uphill journey back to respectability. Ever since it partnered with Microsoft, CEO Elop has been vocal about the future of the company; a future that will see Nokia return to the top of the mobile market, and that will finally see the company break into the smartphone market with the help of Microsoft’s WP7 operating system.

However, things haven’t gone as per plan. A Nokia WP7 device launch this year remains a distant possibility. A large number of Symbian developers have jumped ship to Android or iOS platforms. And those who stayed loyal to Nokia continue to suffer. The company suffered an embarrassing security breach over the weekend when hackers penetrated one of its community websites and accessed names, email addresses, and other information belonging to developers of smartphone apps.

When it’s not happening for you, it’s not happening for you and Nokia is a case in point.

“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,” the statement said.

The Nokia Developer site was apparently hacked by an Indian named  “pr0tect0r AKA mrNRG”.  To make it even more embarrassing, the hacker posted a picture of Simpsons cartoon character Homer wearing his famous expression and the accompanying text mentioned “LOL, Worlds number 1 mobile company but not spending a dime for a server security! FFS patch your security holes otherwise you will be just another antisec victim. No Dumping, No Leaking!!

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. The company estimates that the latter category of users represents less than 7% of the total number of members affected. The Finnish giant says it quickly fixed the bug that made the attack possible, but it was forced to take the developer community website offline pending a security assessment.

Nokia once used to be a developer’s darling – an active community, lots of ‘Super Contributor’ members and a wide array of smartphones to cater to. The incident couldn’t have been timed any worse for Nokia. Just when you thought Symbian is dead, Nokia announces another phone. On the other hand, it encourages developers to adopt WP7 as the ‘platform for the future’. However, there is no doubt that this attack is an embarrassment for Nokia, especially when it’s down in the dumps.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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