Science

Samsung’s Fingerprint Issues

By Danny Brown

The latest top of the line phones from Samsung will unlock with anyone’s fingerprint.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range of phones have been released since March 2019 and the following Galaxy Note 10 range were released several months later in August. These phones have some ground-breaking technology and bleeding edge features, some of which are still to be seen in devices from competitors. 

One of these flagship features being the under-screen fingerprint scanner, which uses ultrasound technology in place of a scanner that uses light. There are several benefits of using the ultrasound version over the type that uses light; it’s more power efficient, because none of the screen has to light up for it to work a less energy is wasted in unlocking the phone; it can be a lot faster, although, in its current generation, it has a long way to go to live up to the promises; and it should be a lot more secure. Samsung has had a big issue recently regarding the last point: any fingerprint is able to unlock the device if certain types of silicone screen protectors are applied to the screen.

This problem has had several wider implications as well. RBS and other banks have pulled their banking app from S10 and Note10 devices, leaving around 200,000 users unable to access their accounts from their phones. 

Samsung has, at the time of writing, released security patches for users in South Korea and will roll out the update to rest of their customers, but it is unclear when this will be. It is recommended that users should delete all fingerprint data and use other forms of security for their devices in the meantime. 

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