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Samsung Galaxy S10: the flaw whereby anyone’s fingerprint can unlock the cell phone

Fingerprint reader A graphic symbol instructs users to press the screen with their fingerprint.

Samsung just recognized a flaw that makes any fingerprint unlock a Galaxy S10 phone. The South Korean company has promised to release a software patch to fix it. The problem was detected by a British woman whose husband was able to unlock her cell phone with her fingerprint just by adding a cheap screen saver.

When the S10 was released last March, Samsung discovered the fingerprint authentication system as “revolutionary”.

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The scanner emanates ultrasound by detecting 3D grooves or fingerprints to recognize users.

Samsung says it is “aware of the S10 fingerprint recognition malfunction” and will “soon release a software patch”.

KaKao Bank, a bank in South Korea that only operates over the internet, recommended that its customers turn off fingerprint recognition to access its services until the matter is settled.

Previous reports suggested that some screen savers are incompatible with the Samsung reader because they leave a small air space that interferes with the scan.

Galaxy S10, storeImage copyright JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES


The British couple who discovered the security issue told The Sun newspaper that this is a “real problem.”

After buying a screen protection gel on eBay for $3.50, Lisa Neilson recorded the fingerprint of her right hand and then discovered that with her left, which was not registered, she could also unlock her cell phone.

She then asked her husband to also try to unlock it with both thumbs.

When they added the screen saver on another family member’s phone, the same thing happened.

“If you experience unusual behavior on Samsung phones, tablets or handheld devices, you can send us an error report or ask us a question in the Samsung Members app,” the company says on its website.

“That allows us to take a closer look at what’s going on. The data is anonymous and is only saved for the duration of the investigation.”

DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics, during the presentation of the cell phone.Image copyright JUSTIN SULLIVAN