Nokia shut down its developer community site after it discovered that an earlier security breach wasn't just a page redirect, but that attackers had obtained user data.
Nokia has suspended its
developer forum after a recent attack compromised member data.
Users registered with the
Nokia developer forum had their personal information, including email
addresses, compromised, the Finnish phone giant said in a note posted Aug. 29 on
the company Website. Other information, such as birth dates, home page URLs and
instant messaging user names for AIM, ICQ, MSN, Skype and Yahoo, was also
compromised for "fewer than 7 percent" of the victims. Passwords and
credit card numbers do not appear to have been compromised.
The forum at developer.nokia.com/community
would be offline until "further investigations and security assessments
were complete," the statement said. No timeline was provided, but Nokia
promised to post updates as often as possible.
Taking down the site while
the investigation is underway is a "sensible move," Graham Cluley, a
senior technology consultant at Sophos, wrote on the Naked Security blog.
in the forum's software used for the Website allowed attackers to use SQL injection
to access a database table containing member records, Nokia said. The breach
was discovered while Nokia was investigating an incident Aug. 22 when users accessing
the forums Website were redirected to another site. The site displayed an image
of Homer Simpson saying, "D'oh!" The page also changed browser window
sizes and positions, making it difficult for affected users to close the site.
Nokia immediately removed
the modified content to stop the redirect and said it was reviewing security
practices for its externally maintained Websites. The company had originally
thought the attacker had just put in the redirect.
In a SQL injection,
attackers enter database query statements into several input fields on the
Website, such as in the comments field or log-in boxes. If the page were not
coded properly, it wouldn't strip out the database commands when the page was
submitted. Instead the commands would be sent to the database to be executed,
and the results returned to the Website.
The attacker, "pr0tect0r
AKA mrNRG," believed to be based in India, accused Nokia of falling down
on security. "Worlds number 1 mobile company but not spending a dime for
server security!" the attacker wrote on the redirected site.
Attackers are successfully
breaching major companies using fairly basic techniques such as SQL injection.
In this case, the flaw existed in the software Nokia used, which means other sites
using the same software are likely to be vulnerable to the attack. Sony
suffered a series of debilitating attacks this spring as attackers harvested
user records using SQL injection attacks.
It is unknown how many
members had their information compromised, but Nokia said the number was
"significantly larger" than first thought. The phone giant is
reaching out to affected members directly via email and said the users would
most likely see higher volumes of unsolicited mail, such as spam and phishing
While the Nokia attacker
referenced the AntiSec movement, where attackers break into Websites to dump
sensitive information, there is no way to tell if the breach was part of
AntiSec or a lone incident. The decentralized nature of the movement makes it
difficult to link incidents together or identify any group behind the
The security breach is
embarrassing for Nokia. While the company remains the world's largest maker of
mobile phone handsets, it has been dramatically losing market share to
smartphones running Google's Android mobile operating system and Apple's
iPhone. Nokia recently signed a partnership agreement with Microsoft to introduce
a new line of Windows Phone 7-powered phones for either later this year or