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Nokia 1100 gets highly sought after for its potential criminal use

Posted by Tania Mirza Thursday, April 23, 2009

One of the most popular handsets in the world - Nokia 1100 has found itself in the middle of a banking fraud scandal, according to a Dutch investigator. Allegedly, criminals are paying an arm and a leg for working second hand units of the once-50-euro handset that are manufactured in Nokia plant in Bochum, Germany.

Investigators are observing huge amounts of money being offered for the outdated handset recently. The largest recorded sum up to now is 25,000 euro (about 32,000 US dollars), which is about 11 times its weight in gold. According to the investigators the criminals are looking to acquire only units that are manufactured in the Bochum plant of the company.

The supposed reason behind this peculiar requirement is that those handset most probably come with flawed software or hardware, which allows them to be hacked and used to make a working copy of someone else's phone line.

When set up this way, the Nokia 1100 receives the same calls and most importantly text messages that the original recipient gets, without them ever suspecting anything.

The loophole that the criminals are allegedly using is that many European banks now send temporary transaction authentication numbers or mTANs as SMS to the account holders as a security feature for authorizing online money transfers.

This is where the supposedly counterfeit-capable Nokia 1100 handsets step in. As they receive the SMS intended for the authorized account holder, criminals can acquire a working mTAN and initiate a transfer after they have stolen the needed online ID credentials in some other way.

At this stage Nokia have refuted those accusations claiming that they have not identified any flaw or wormhole in their phone software that would allow the alleged use cases.

However, the investigations still continue.


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