Before the arrival of the iPhone in 2007, Nokia was the market leader in the industry. It controlled the global market with its handy, durable, and long-lasting mobile phones. The Nokia 1100 stood out among the many Nokia models. But what made this particular model enticing to criminals?
In 2009, fraudsters found out that the Nokia 1100 could receive SMS messages sent to another phone number, allowing them to capture sensitive information such as one-time passwords for online banking. Some pay more than $32,000 for the $100 phone.
The Famous Nokia Feature Phone
The Nokia 1100 was released in 2003, in time for the growth of demand for phones in Asian and Eastern European markets. The phone was tiny, durable, and long-lasting. It even came with a torchlight. (Source: Reuters)
This phone’s popularity is unsurpassed. The 1100 was one of the last feature phones that garnered market success.
The Nokia 1100 is the world’s most popular and best-selling mobile phone. It has a global market share of almost 250,000,000 units. The Nokia 3210 only comes in a close second to 1100, despite it being the first Nokia without any antennas. (Source: TechWelkin)
This specific model was designed to be sold to developing countries. The keypad and front face were built to be as dustproof as possible with the technology at the time. Its sides are non-slip and gripping in damp or humid conditions. It was made to last.
The screen was monochrome, and it did not have polyphonic ringtones. It did not come with a camera, nor an MP3 player. It is a straightforward call and text phone. Nokia developed this phone, ensuring that it performs its basic features seamlessly. (Source: Design Futures Group)
The Bochum Nokia 1100
According to investigations done by Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations, criminals were willing to pay approximately $32,000 for a Nokia 1100 phone in 2009. The candy-bar design phone is one of Nokia’s all-time best-selling devices and was sold initially for under $100.
In 2009, police contacted Ultrascan, asking whether they knew why the phones were in demand. Since then, Ultrascan’s Nokia 1100 pricing has risen from $6,000 to $34,000.
According to an Ultrascan source, the exorbitant costs are only being paid for Nokia 1100 phones built-in Bochum, Germany. Those phones used vulnerable Nokia software from 2002. Investigators lack a complete picture of the technical issue but what was discovered is that the phones can intercept one-time passwords needed to complete an online banking transaction.
According to reports, a notorious Russian and Moroccan cybercrime group is trying to obtain the Nokia 1100 with the vulnerable software. Cybercriminals have got thousands of online banking usernames and passwords from nations including Germany and Holland. Those countries’ banks also require a TAN code, or a one-time password, to make a transaction.
Previously, banks provided consumers with TAN codes. During a transaction, the bank would ask for one of the codes. Due to successful phishing attacks where users were duped into giving TAN codes, banks now issue a code by SMS.
In this way, the Bochum 1100 intercepts the TAN code and allows an illegal money transfer into a criminal’s account. To this day, experts are still trying to replicate how the hack was completed. (Source: PC World)