Nokia phones investigated over rumored data breach

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Following a recent data breach report, Finland's data protection ombudsman said that he would investigate claims that Nokia-branded phones had sent information from users' handsets to China.

While Nokia exited the mobile phone business to focus solely on networking, the Finnish firm's brand name lives on thanks to HMD Global which licensed it to produce a new range of Nokia devices running Android.

According to HMD Global, no personal data was shared with a third party although it did reveal that one batch of handsets had been experiencing a data software glitch which has now been fixed.

News of the data breach was first reported by Norwegian public broadcaster NRK that said a Nokia 7 Plus smartphone built by HMD has been sending data to China. In its report, the broadcaster said that the company had “admitted that an unspecified number of Nokia 7 Plus phones had sent data to the Chinese server”.

 Alleged data breach

NRK first discovered that a possible data breach had taken place when a Nokia 7 Plus user contacted the broadcaster to inform them that his phone had been regularly sending data packages in an unencrypted format to an unknown server.

In an email to Reuters, HMD Global offered further details on the breach, saying:

“We can confirm that no personally identifiable information has been shared with any third party. Such data was never processed and no person could have been identified based on this data.” 

Despite HMD's claims to the contrary, Ombudsman Reijo Aarnio will still be investigating to assess whether any personal information was disclosed in the breach.

The latest Nokia-branded smartphones from HMD Global have received favorable reviews and if a data breach involving personal information did occur, it could have a significant impact on the brand's reputation.

Via Reuters

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.