Samsung Fingerprint Scanner Vulnerability Found

Samsung has found a major flaw in its new high-tech fingerprint reader on the latest Galaxy smartphones. The phones have ultrasonic fingerprint scanners, which uses soundwaves to create a 3D map of a person’s fingerprint. Samsung is warning that some screen protectors might make the sensor “malfunction.”

The problem appears to be that if you’re using a 3rd-party glass screen protector, your phone’s ultrasonic fingerprint reader has the chance of letting anybody past the lockscreen. A British woman found that her husband could unlock her case-enclosed Samsung phone when he placed his thumb on the fingerprint reader. A video of a similar incident was posted by a different person on Twitter.

Samsung is now telling customers not to use “certain silicone screen protecting cases” on the new phones. This includes the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+, as well as the Galaxy S10, S10+, and S10 5G. The company said a bug fix is planned to be released early next week. The company also sells a screen protector that is specially designed for the ultrasonic fingerprint reader at a cost of around $20.

Here’s the full statement from Samsung:

“Regarding recent reports of a fingerprint recognition issue affecting certain Galaxy devices, we would like to inform our customers of the following information.”

“This issue involved ultrasonic fingerprint sensors unlocking devices after recognizing 3-dimensional patterns appearing on certain silicone screen protecting cases as users’ fingerprints.”

“To prevent any further issues, we advise that Galaxy Note10/10+ and S10/S10+/S10 5G users who use such covers to remove the cover, delete all previous fingerprints and newly register their fingerprints.”

“If you currently use front screen protective covers, to ensure optimum fingerprint scanning, please refrain from using this cover until your device has been updated with a new software patch.”

“A software update is planned to be released as early as next week, and once updated, please be sure to scan your fingerprint in its entirety, so that the all portions of your fingerprint, including the center and corners have been fully scanned.”

“Thank you for your patience and we will strive to continuously improve product and service experiences for our users.”

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