Samsung Electronics is taking steps to respond to the fingerprint security problem of its flagship Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note10 smartphones. A growing number of customers say that when the front of their phones are covered with a silicon case, they can be unlocked even with others’ fingerprints.
According to foreign news outlets such as the U.K.-based The Sun, the U.S.-based Forbes and South Korea’s leading IT online communities, Samsung smartphone users keep uploading videos that show the security flaw of their devices. Now even the videos showing the smartphones unlocked with other body parts as well as fingerprints are circulating on the Internet.
Earlier, some foreign news outlets reported that when a phone case of about 4,000 won sold in eBay is attached on the back and front of the Galaxy S10, the fingerprint recognition flaw happens. Shortly afterwards, a local IT community claimed that when the fingerprint reader is touched by fingerprints after the front is covered with an ordinary silicon case, the phone gets unlocked. The Galaxy Note10 is not free from this problem, either, as it is based on the same fingerprint recognition technology as the Galaxy S10.
Samsung Pay, a kind of mobile credit and debit card service, is mounted on the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note10, allowing the phone users to authenticate themselves with fingerprints when they use the payment service. Therefore, unless the South Korean tech company fails to address the security problem quickly, it may lead to further problems of banking security vulnerability. In this regard, the country’s online-only Kakao Bank on Oct. 17 told its customers using the smartphones in question to “switch off the fingerprint recognition option and instead use pattern codes and secret numbers for verification until the defect is fixed.”
Samsung Electronics announced that they will roll out a software patch to fix the flaw immediately. “We are building software that gets ultrasonic waves not to detect the patterns of silicon cases,” said a company official, adding, “We will soon provide a software patch.”