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Samsung’s fix for its embarrassing Galaxy S10 security problem is ready to roll out

Published Oct 24th, 2019 7:53AM EDT
Galaxy S10 Fingerprint Sensor
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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The Galaxy S10 and Note 10 phones feature a more sophisticated in-display fingerprint sensor than other Android phones, as it uses ultrasounds rather than optics to map fingerprints during the authentication process. However, some users discovered recently that anyone can unlock the phone as long as the display is covered by a third-party screen protector that hasn’t been certified by Samsung. The company acknowledged the issue and promised that a software update will deliver a permanent fix. That was only a few days ago, and it looks like Samsung is ready to deploy the fix.

Samsung explained the issue occurs because certain screen protectors come with patterns that are recognized along with fingerprints during authentication. That’s quite a security embarrassment for Samsung, as the issue prompted some banks to advise customers to stop using the fingerprint sensor to log into their services.

Samsung told Reuters that the fix is already available. Galaxy S10 and Note 10 owners who have registered their biometric data will receive notifications to install the update, the report notes. It’s unclear when the rollout will actually begin, but it’s likely Samsung wants to fix the problem as soon as possible.

Reuters adds that the Bank of China has already pulled fingerprint payments from certain Samsung devices and that Alipay’s fingerprint payment verification app has been temporarily suspended.

If you’re using an authorized screen protector with your S10 or Note 10, you should have no reason to worry about the security issue, as long as you don’t lose the handset. If you’re unsure, just let someone else try to unlock the phone with their fingerprints. In any case, you should consider removing the screen protector, or disable the biometrics sensor until the software update reaches your region. That’s because the only way for anyone to bypass the lock screen of the phone and take advantage of the security flaw is to have access to your device. If you lose your phone or someone steals it, they might try to take advantage of the security issue by applying a non-certified screen protector to the display and attempting to unlock it.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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