Feeds

Nokia Wizard spells security issue

E-mail passwords magically grabbed

Top three mobile application threats

The wizard used to configure e-mail access on the latest Nokia S60 devices is sending e-mail credentials to Nokia, via HTTP, even when the user is connecting to an unrelated mailserver.

The connection was spotted by the Mobilitics blog, who discovered that running the wizard on a Nokia 5800 results in a (secure) HTTP connection being made to Nokia's server, a connection containing the username and password - enough information for someone else to access the account - despite the fact that Nokia have no business with the information.

The latest S60 devices don't provide any other mechanism to set up an e-mail account, so anyone who would prefer to avoid the Finns having access to their mail needs to either run the wizard while in flight mode, or enter spurious details and amend them later, neither of which is exactly intuitive.

Nokia does need the account information for punters signed up to Nokia Messaging, a service which aggregates multiple e-mail accounts But most users want their handset to talk directly to their mail server, without Finland being involved at all. Once the account has been configured that's how it operates. The information is only shared by the wizard.

We spoke to Nokia about the issue, and the company admitted that "In some cases, the user's credentials are sent directly to the mail provider's server, but in other cases, they securely pass through the Nokia mail server, without actually being stored", though it's still not clear why they should pass through Nokia's servers at all. In fact it seems that this might not be the case much longer: "based on the feedback that we have received, we will look into the possibility of amending the on-device email set-up instructions to ensure that end-user information handling in our devices and services is accurate".

So the problem seems to be accidental rather than malicious, and should be fixed soon, but it's still concerning that hundreds of thousands of e-mail details have been passing though Nokia's servers for the last few months, and interesting to speculate how much bigger this story would be if Microsoft were guilty of the same thing. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.