The Nokia 7 Plus was accidentally sending user data to Chinese servers

Nokia 7 Plus
Nokia 7 Plus (Image credit: Nokia)

For the past couple of years, Nokia's been establishing itself as one of the go-to brands for high-quality, reliable mid-range smartphones. The Nokia 7 Plus, one of Nokia's many handsets, was released in February 2018 to widely positive reviews. However, as reported by Norwegian site NRK, it was accidentally sending user data to Chinese servers.

Per NRK:

In February, we got a tip from Henrik Austad, a reader who had monitored the traffic on his Nokia 7 Plus. He noticed that the phone often contacted a server and sent off a data packet. The package was sent unencrypted and when he inspected the contents of the package he was worried.Every time the phone was switched on, the screen activated or unlocked, his geographical position, as well as the SIM card number and the phone's serial number went to a server in China.

Why was this happening? Upon further inspection, it was revealed that the code on the Nokia 7 Plus is pretty standard for phones sold in China. The problem, however, is that it was present on the international version of the Nokia 7 Plus being sold in other countries.

Following this report, HMD Global (the company behind Nokia phones), issued a statement saying:

We have analyzed the case and can confirm that there has been an error in the packing process of software in a single batch of a telephone model, which by mistake attempted to send activation data to a foreign server. The data was never processed and no personal information was shared with third parties or authorities.

HMD also states, "this has now been fixed and almost any device affected by this error has now installed the update."

While that's all fine and dandy, it remains unclear how this even happened in the first place. Perhaps even more important, we aren't sure what happened to the data that was sent off to the servers. HMD says that none of the data was processed, but it was still sent to the servers.

This likely won't have any big ramifications in the United States since the Nokia 7 Plus was never sold in the country, but even so, it isn't a great look for HMD/Nokia.

Thanks, Nokia, for continuing to focus on secure, affordable entry-level phones

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

15 Comments
  • How long until Trump bans Nokia phones from the US?
  • The phone isn't sold officially in the US, a user in Norway caught this and reported it.
  • "Accidentally"....
    Yeah right.
  • Given precedent set over the last year or two, Nokia needs to be banned from the US. Not my preference, but I'm having a hard time finding how this is any different than Huawei. Except Nokia was caught. To my knowledge, Huawei was not. (Tell me if I'm wrong, I very well may be)
  • You're not wrong, but it's not really about phones, it's about having a Chinese company controlling the vast majority of American network infrastructure. I can kinda see both sides, but it's all pretty much rendered moot by all the Russian malware in the current infrastructure anyway lol.
  • Huawei and ZTE were banned for exports to Iran and North Korea.
  • ZTE were,i don't believe that's the case for Huawei.
  • Huawei never got banned for that. Only ZTE. Better to get your facts straight first before commenting.
  • .... They want us to believe that this was accidental?
  • Didn't we just get an article, today, of how safe and secure Nokia phones are?
  • Is HMD a Chinese company?
  • It's in Finland and a Finnish company.
  • Well it could have been inadvertent. I mean really what use would the Chinese government have for this sort of data? Not exactly classified stuff.
  • Tsk, tsk, and just when Nokia is garnering praise for its fast updates and affordability. With buyers already concerned about devices "phoning home" to China, this is so unfortunate if truly an accident.
  • Between this and the new Facebook leak hmmmm