The latest Nokia 9 PureView software update was supposed to address concerns regarding the speed of its fingerprint scanner. Instead, it made it less secure.
The update, which started rolling out on April 19, included some adjustments to fingerprint scanner, specifically to make it much faster. Users and reviewers had complained about the speed of the sensor compared to other phones with in-display fingerprint scanners. The update was launched to address such concerns. But it's now clear something was compromised.
Nokia 9 PureView Fingerprint Scanner Fooled By Chewing Gum
As Twitter user TechAltar highlighted on Twitter, one user discovered that the fingerprint scanner was having strange false positives. In one scenario, the phone was unlocked by scanning another person's fingerprint, which hadn't been registered in the first place.
In another more potentially problematic scenario, the phone was unlocked by placing a pack of chewing gum on top of the in-display fingerprint scanner. The video below shows the scanner being fooled by a real-life packet of chewing gum. PhoneArena has since tested this on its unit and confirmed that, while somewhat random, false positives were occurring quite often.
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
It's not clear what exactly Nokia did to make the phone's fingerprint scanner far less secure. But it's clear that whatever it did, it was detrimental to security.
Nokia has yet to comment on these reports, and it's unclear how long it'll take before the company — the brand itself is now owned by HMD Global — pushes out an update to fix this major security flaw. In the meantime, users are encouraged to switch to another mode of authentication, such as facial recognition, a PIN code, or a password to avoid potential breaches, given that it's been shown strangers can bypass the phone's lock screen.
Nokia 9 PureView
The Nokia 9 PureView was released in February 2019 and made a splash with five-camera array on the back, a first for any smartphone. It boasts a 5.99-inch P-OLED display with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,440 and a pixel density of 538 ppi.
It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor that's paired with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of onboard storage. The back features two RGB cameras and three black and white cameras all working together to stitch crisp photos. On the front is a respectable 20-megapixel shooter for vivid and detailed selfies.
The phone ships with the Android One version of Android 9 Pie out of the box. It's one of the first few phones to sport an in-display fingerprint scanner, but clearly it's not working that well.