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Samsung issues patch for Galaxy S10 fingerprint sensor problem

Samsung Galaxy S10

Following confirmed accounts that the Galaxy S10's fingerprint sensor can be defeated with a cheap screen protector, Samsung says it has issued a software patch to resolve it.

Samsung says that it has issued a software update to resolve problems with the fingerprint scanner on both the Galaxy S10 and Note 10. It's recommending that users update their phones to the latest software version.

Previously, users had discovered that the security fingerprint scanner could be entirely bypassed if a cheap screen protector was fitted to a phone.

According to Reuters, Samsung says that the issue was to do with patterns from the protectors being recognized alongside the legitimate fingerprints. While Samsung has not explained how this could result in phones being unlocked, AppleInsider consulted with the Department of Defense.

The exact mechanism of failure is not yet known. However, it didn't even require a finger to fool the fingerprint sensor — any similarly shaped object functioned as an ersatz digit, and would trigger the unlock through the screen protector.

It took Samsung seven days to issue the patch from the first wide and public reports of the problem. Based on the account originally published, it appears the company knew about the flaw for about a week before press got wind of the matter.

It isn't clear how pre-release testing missed the flaw. While Samsung hasn't commented on that in particular, it has issued an apology over its phone app.

"Samsung Electronics takes the security of products very seriously and will make sure to strengthen security through continuing improvement and updates to enhance biometric authentication functions," the company said on the app.

Since the failure, multiple banks and other apps relying on the authentication have removed support for the feature.