Samsung fingerprint sensor security flaw lets anyone unlock a Galaxy S10 phone

The new Samsung Galaxy S10


Samsung said Thursday that it is working to fix a vulnerability that would allow anyone to unlock a Galaxy S10 or Galaxy Note 10 device using a fingerprint.

The flaw was first reported by a U.K. couple who discovered the husband could unlock his wife’s phone using his fingerprint, according to the BBC. Samsung’s fingerprint ID system allows users to open their phones as well as make payments and applications on the phone using a finger or thumbprint, if the system is enabled.

Samsung said in a statement to CNBC that a software update is coming soon that will fix the flaw.

“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.”

Biometric authentication methods like fingerprints have gained popularity in recent years, often billed as easier to use or more secure than traditional passcodes.

Samsung’s newest option for the S10 and Note 10 lets people scan their finger embedded in the screen instead of placing them on a hardware sensor.

But the flaw could put focus on one of Samsung’s bigger problems: The perception the company pushes out products before they’re finished. In 2016, the Galaxy Note 7 was ultimately canceled after its battery caused fires in 2016. The Galaxy Fold this year was delayed after the first model broke for several review outlets, including CNBC.

Apple popularized the fingerprint security method with the iPhone 5s in 2013. The company later introduced Face ID to its Touch ID authentication platform.

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