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Samsung will patch major fingerprint security flaw soon

2019-10-18 18:34 by
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Samsung will fix a nasty bug that has caused problems with the fingerprint sensor on the company's Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10. The flaw lets anyone with a different fingerprint unlock the device given that the smartphone has a screen protector installed. If you do not have a screen protector, you are safe.

According to the company, the issue is caused by the phones' ultrasonic fingerprint sensor incorrectly reading 3D patterns in the screen protector as fingerprints. Samsung notes that "unofficial, scratched or dirty screen protectors may cause the fingerprint sensor to malfunction." The company has also said that some screen protectors that come with silicone phone cases can be recognized alongside fingerprints by the phone's sensor.

"We are investigating this issue and will be deploying a software patch soon," a Samsung spokesperson said. "We encourage any customers with questions or who need support downloading the latest software to contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG."

Failed Samsung biometric solutions are not new. Last time, it was 2017's Galaxy S8, which shipped with a Samsung-built facial recognition system that had flaws other vendors had addressed in 2011—you could unlock the phone with a photo of someone. This also isn't the first time someone has broken the S10's fingerprint reader—it was previously defeated with a $450 3D printer. Failing biometrics on a phone are a bigger deal than ever, as they give attackers access not only to your messages, photos, and contacts but, thanks to NFC payment apps, expose your credit cards, too.

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