Samsung confirms fingerprint security flaw

Samsung, News, Samsung confirms fingerprint security flaw

Security concerns over Samsung’s new S10 model have surfaced. Users on social media demonstrated a bug which allows unregistered fingerprints to unlock the device

Samsung recently acknowledged the bug in a reply to the BBC, saying that it was “aware of the case of S10’s malfunctioning fingerprint recognition and will soon issue a software patch”.

Many online banking applications, such as Monzo and Lloyds, use biometric scanners instead of passwords, leaving S10 users vulnerable. 

KakaoBank, the most popular internet-only service in Samsung’s native South Korea, advised users to disable fingerprint access amid fears that their accounts could be compromised with ease if their devices fell into the wrong hands. 


The bug occurs when an air gap between the screen protector and the sensor effectively stops the sensor from working correctly. Most smartphone manufacturers use an optical reader, which takes a 2D image of a fingerprint. However, Samsung uses Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint reader technology, which takes a 3D image using sonic waves.

The security flaw was initially highlighted by a British woman, who first reported it to The Sun. She claimed that both her and her partner’s unregistered thumbprints could unlock the device. 

In 2017, the Samsung Galaxy S8 suffered a similar embarrassment when it was found that its facial recognition security could be bypassed with a photograph.

Samsung, News, Samsung confirms fingerprint security flaw

Ben Kansy

Ben is a multimedia journalist with a keen passion for technology, literature and art. When he isn't writing you can find him wandering around London's museums and galleries.

How vital is digital transformation?

Ben Kansy • 21st October 2019

As new technologies dramatically alter the business landscape, an effective digital transformation is essential for continued viability, sustained success and ROI

Fighting cybercrime with AI

Ben Kansy • 11th October 2019

Economic loss as a direct result of cybercrime is predicted to hit $3 trillion by 2020. How can AI lead the charge in the fight against cybercrime?