Finland investigates Nokia branded phones following data breach

Finland investigates Nokia branded phones following data breach
Suspect handset trasmitted unencrypted data to Chinese server.

Last Thursday, Finland’s data protection ombudsman anounced that he would be investigating claims that Nokia-branded phones had breached data rules, following a report claiming that users’ handsets had sent unencrypted information to China.

Nokia withdrew from the mobile phone market to concentrate solely on networking. Now, Finnish company HMD Global developes new Nokia-branded phones under license. A spokesperson said that no personal data had been shared with a third party, although there had been a data software glitch” with a batch of handsets, which had now been remedied.

Data protection ombudsman Reijo Aarnio told Reuters he would be assessing whether there were any breaches involving “personal information and if there has been a legal justification for this.”

Norway’s radio and TV public broadcaster NRK reported the data breach last Thursday March 21, relating to the Nokia 7 Plus model, which is built by HMD. The broadcaster announced that the company had “admitted that an unspecified number of Nokia 7 Plus phones had sent data to the Chinese server.”

Nokia declined to comment.

Suspected Data Breach

NRK discovered a potential data breach after it was contacted by a Nokia 7 Plus user, who reported that his phone frequently connected to a particular server and sent unencrypted data packages. According to NRK, HMD declined to say who owns the server.

HMD Global said in an email to Reuters “We can confirm that no personally identifiable information has been shared with any third party. The company added that there had been…

an error in software packaging process in a single batch of one device model. …Such data was never processed and no person could have been identified based on this data,

HDM told Reuter that the error had been fixed in February and almost all of the affected devices had installed the fix.

Nokia’s phone handset business was initially sold to Microsoft in 2014. HMD Global was set up by former Nokia executives, who took over the Nokia feature phone business from Microsoft in 2016 and agreed a deal with Nokia Oyj to use the brand on smartphones.

The latest range of Nokia-branded phones from HMD Global has received positive reviews. However, the brand could suffer damage to its reputation, if it is confirmed that a data breach involving personal information has occurred.

Sources: Reuters, TechRadar