Major Security Vulnerability Discovered in Samsung Galaxy S10’s Under-Display Fingerprint Scanner

Ruben Fields
October 18, 2019

It's very small compared to a fingerprint.

A flaw that means any fingerprint can unlock a Galaxy S10 phone has been acknowledged by Samsung.

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A user in the United Kingdom told the Sun newspaper earlier this week her Samsung device could be unlocked by someone else simply by putting on a screen protector and applying an unregistered fingerprint. However, the same type of ultrasonic sensor is fitted to the Note 10. That's exactly the phone that Samsung is reportedly thinking of equipping with the yet-unproven under-display camera technology, whereas the Galaxy S11 will more likely have to make do with a design resembling the Note 10, just with even thinner bezels.

Samsung's spokesperson in Seoul said the company will soon roll out a fix, but did not say what caused the recognition problem. It all started when a user in the United Kingdom had her phone unlocked by her husband's fingerprint after installing a screen protector on the display, Reuters reports, citing The Sun. Use authorized Samsung accessories instead to evade any security breach. We pray Samsung can resolve the matter quickly, but in the meantime S10 owners using screen protectors should test their scanner's security. Early S10 screen protectors actually featured a giant hole over the top of the fingerprint reader sensor location, as there was concern that an air gap between the cover and sensor could stop the sensor from working. It's a shame, too, considering the biometric reader is among the most useful features of the latest Galaxy phones. Qualcomm and Samsung touted the ultrasonic sensor as more secure than optical, since it uses sonic waves to take a 3D scan of your finger, supposedly providing more detail than the 2D image of a CMOS sensor.

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