05 November 2019 13:03

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HMD Global investigating Nokia 9 fingerprint scanner that can be fooled using pack of gum

Nokia 9 PureView, although is a show of prowess in terms of optical capabilities, it has failed to figure out its fingerprint authentication. Right from the onset, Nokia 9 Pureview has been having issues regarding its fingerprint authentication, which the company has placed under the display. In an attempt to fix this Nokia recently rolled out a software update in phases to all Nokia 9 users. According to Nokia, the software update was supposed to fix the issue and make fingerprint authentication smoother. However, the software update has ended up making the fingerprint scanner on the device a little too smooth–as in certain cases, the device unlocks with leather gloves, coins or even a pack of gum.

Since the update has rolled out, PureView users have taken to Twitter to state that the fingerprint scanner on Nokia 9 PureView now unlocks to unregistered fingerprints, which is a serious bug to hamper the privacy of users. It looks like Nokia will have to go through the trouble of rolling out another update in order to fix this issue, given Nokia 9 is a premium device and the whole objective of the previous software update was to fix the fingerprint issue on the phone. It now remains to be seen when Nokia will be releasing a software update to fix this major issue. That's what appears to be happening in the Nokia 9 PureView, which users are reporting can be unlocked not only by a non-registered finger but also by a pack of chewing gum. The Nokia 9 PureView, best known for its array of five rear cameras, was said to offer an awkward experience when it came to registering and authenticating users' fingerprints.

To address the issue, a software update arrived last week that was supposed to improve the sensor's performance, but it may have caused new problems. A user called Decoded Pixel posted a video to Twitter showing how the Nokia 9 could be unlocked using someone's unregistered finger and even a pack of chewing gum. Another video showed Decoded Pixel unlocking the phone using the same packet of gum from different sides. Strangely, the user said the problem has persisted for two weeks—before the software update was rolled out. It appears this issue isn't limited to Decoded Pixel's Nokia 9.

Marton Barcza, from YouTube channel TechAltar, said he could also unlock the phone using an unregistered fingerprint, as did some other owners. Several users, including Nokia chief product officer Juho Sarvikas, said they couldn't reproduce the issue, so it appears limited in scope. Nokia 9 PureView users have been having problems with the in display fingerprint reader. A software update sent last week should have fixed the problem to make the sensor work properly, but now the manufacturer HMD Global is investigating new cases where the reader is too easily fooled, unlocking devices with unknown fingers and even gum wrappers. This Monday, a video on Twitter posted by Decoded Pixel showed how it was possible to unlock the Nokia 9 using a pack of chewing gum, and in the tweet it stated that it was also possible to unlock the device with a coin and leather gloves.

Here is my Nokia 9 Fingerprint sensor issue, phone can be unlocked using a chewing gum packet or someone else's finger. pic.twitter.com/Thce3nB2fr — Decoded Pixel (@decodedpixel) 21 de abril de 2019 According to Sarvikas in reply to Decoded Pixel, the company hadn't yet have been successful in its attempts to reproduce the failures, but investigations are ongoing. We were unable to replicate the issue on our device (using unregistered fingerprints and a coin, among other objects), though we do hope that the company will publish an update as soon as it has been able to solve the problem for affected users. HMD Global is investigating claims that the Nokia 9's fingerprint scanner is insecure 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.

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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. 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. Damn, mine just let me get in with a random unregistered fingerprint as well… @sarvikas @NokiaMobile you have another serious security flaw here. 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. 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. 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. Whatever be the case, we'll update you as and when we learn more about Nokia 9's loose cannon fingerprint scanner. The Nokia 9 Pureview is having some interesting teething problems with its latest patch. The update promised to make the in-screen fingerprint reader more reliable, but it's actually made it incredibly vulnerable, with multiple owners posting videos of the handset unlocking with unregistered fingerprints and even a stick of chewing gum. In the release notes, the update promised to improve the fingerprint reader so that it wouldn't require such hard presses on the screen before unlocking. While you might think that rolling back to the previous version of the OS would fix the issue, another user posted a video of them unlocking the handset with unregistered fingerprints before the patch, meaning that your security is unlikely to be improved even with that drastic step. You would imagine that HMD Global – the company that makes phones under the Nokia brand – will be looking to fix this embarrassing bug as quickly as possible, but in the meantime you're advised to disable fingerprint unlocks and revert to entering a PIN.