Nokia 9 PureView design and hardware

Nokia has quickly become one of my favorite brands over the past year or so, but everyone makes mistakes once in a while. Last week, the Nokia 9 PureView got an update which was supposed to deliver a faster fingerprint sensor, but instead just took away any sense of security.

An update which started rolling out on April 19th to the Nokia 9 PureView included some adjustments the fingerprint sensor, specifically to make it a bit faster. Users and reviewers alike complained about the speed of the sensor even compared to other in-display fingerprint sensors.

To address that, this update adjusted how the sensor worked to make it faster, but clearly, something was compromised. As TechAltar highlighted on Twitter over the weekend, one user discovered that their fingerprint sensor on the Nokia 9 PureView was having strange false positives.

Update 4/24: HMD Global, Nokia’s parent company, has confirmed that it is looking into this problem.

Apparently, the company has kicked off an investigation into the issue, but has somehow been unable to reproduce it. Juho Sarvikas also reached out to the user in the video below to swap out the unit for further testing to see what the problem may be.

This included with the fingerprints of other people entirely, and quite literally a package of chewing gum. The video below shows the sensor somehow being fooled by the actual packaging of chewing gum. The folks over at PhoneArena further tested this on their unit and confirmed that, while somewhat random, false positives were occurring quite often.

Obviously, whatever Nokia did to change the fingerprint sensor in this update is detrimental to security. If someone were able to get their hands on your device following this update, it seems likely that they would be able to trigger an unlock.

Hopefully, Nokia can get a quick fix out to users to take this one back. At least the Face Unlock feature is fairly secure…

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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