HMD Global is investigating claims that the Nokia 9’s fingerprint scanner is insecure
HMD Global’s latest flagship, the Nokia 9 PureView, is backed by some surprising elements like the penta-camera setup. However, the device has also been surprising users in ways which may not be very pleasant. Enrolling fingers and authentication using the in-display fingerprint scanner on the Nokia 9, for instance, has been tough for many users. And while a recent update was meant to ease the experience, it may have slackened the reins so much so that anything, even a pack of gum can now be used to unlock the phone.
A Nokia 9 user by the alias, “Decoded Pixel,” recently a video posted on Twitter, to demonstrate how the fingerprint scanner can now be easily bypassed with unregistered fingers, including their own and someone else’s. What might not be easily digested is the fact that the same user was able to fool the fingerprint scanner using a pack of chewing gum.
Video of the fingerprint sensor unlocking phone with a packet of chewing gum and someone else's finger pic.twitter.com/jwY4ZG7uCh
— Decoded Pixel (@decodedpixel) April 21, 2019
In another video, Decoded Pixel was able to unlock Nokia 9 by continuously stamping the fingerprint scanner with the same pack of gums from different sides.
@NokiaMobile @TechAltar here is another video of Nokia 9 being unlocked with a chewing gum packet. Phone has no tempered glass screen protector and display was cleaned before recording. pic.twitter.com/GqBVhmTiTZ
— Decoded Pixel (@decodedpixel) April 22, 2019
Marton Barcza behind the renowned YouTube channel TechAlter confirming that the flaw is not limited to Decoded Pixel’s unit and that his Nokia 9 can also be unlocked with unregistered fingers.
— TechAltar (@TechAltar) April 21, 2019
Meanwhile, the original poster heard from Nokia Juho Sarvikas, who assured them that the issue is being looked. Since Nokia’s internal team could not imitate the issue, Decoded Pixel might get a replacement unit. Likewise, Barcza received a written response from the support team, affirming that the issue is being investigated.
Hi there! We have not been able to reproduce the issue. Our team in UK will reach out to you. It would be super helpful if we could swap your unit so that we can investigate this. Thanks!
— Juho Sarvikas (@sarvikas) April 23, 2019
HMD has just gotten back to me about the Nokia 9 fingerprint reader. They are investigating it. pic.twitter.com/EbeqQ35422
— TechAltar (@TechAltar) April 23, 2019
A few other users have been able to reproduce the issue in certain conditions like in the Grayscale mode of Android 9 Pie’s Digital Wellbeing. But like HMD Global, a host of other users were unable to reproduce the issue, which means that it could possibly be limited to some of the units. The issue could also be prominent on units available only in certain regions.
I cannot reproduce it on mine. Tried with my son's fingerprint. Love this phone. Turning into a PR nightmare. HMD is blowing it
— Brock Derbes (@BrockDerbes) April 22, 2019
I'm not facing it
— Sandeep Sarma (@sandeep9sarma) April 22, 2019
Someone at the Nokia community forums said that he was able to unlock the phone with any finger when the digital wellbeing grayscale went up. Couldn’t reproduce that and can’t reproduce this, but still seems worrysome. Factory settings might clear the issue.
— Juho Lemmetyinen (@sizzlingshrimp) April 22, 2019
Whatever be the case, we’ll update you as and when we learn more about Nokia 9’s loose cannon fingerprint scanner.