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A nasty Samsung Galaxy S10 bug lets anyone with a fingerprint unlock it

Thankfully, a fix is coming “soon.”

in-screen fingerprint tech is coming thanks to qualcomm in samsung galaxy s10
Image: Don't Hate the Geek

UPDATE October 18, 1:28 PM ET: Sounds like Samsung has identified the bug and said that a patch should be coming as early as next week. Apparently the issue is caused by the phones’ ultrasonic fingerprint sensor mistaking 3D patterns through the screen protector as authorized fingerprints. Meaning any fingerprint can unlock it. Original reporting below.

If you’re a proud owner of a new Samsung Galaxy S10 or Note 10, first – congratulations. Secondly, guess what? Your phone can be unlocked with a $4 case. Here’s a quick video of it in action. Technology is great, isn’t it?

According to The Sun, the security flaw was discovered by a British couple who recently outfitted their S10 with a gel cover to protect it from falls and scratches. Pretty standard stuff, but here is where things get interesting.

With the third-party screen protector on, the couple found that any fingerprint could unlock the phone. The husband was able to unlock his wife’s phone with his fingerprint, even though he wasn’t set up to use it.

Thankfully, Samsung confirmed the issue and says they plan on pushing out a fix to this “soon,” Reuters reported on Thursday. According to Samsung, “the issue can happen when patterns of some protectors that come with silicone phone cases are recognized along with fingerprints.”

For now, the phones that seem to be affected by this bug include the Galaxy S10, S10+, and Note 10. They all feature the in-display, ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that all of the phones are experiencing these issues.

Yea, this obviously is not a good thing for Samsung right now. It’s so bad that South Korea’s online-only KaKaobank is telling folks to disable the finger recognition feature before logging into its services while the issue is sorted out.

While this all gets patched up, Samsung urges people to only use authorized screen protectors for the time being.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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