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That fancy in-screen fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S10 can be fooled by a 3D print

Is it time to ‘give the finger’ to bad biometrics?

samsung galaxy s10 fingerprint sensor tricked by 3d printing
Image: darkshark / Imgur

When the Samsung Galaxy S10 was first announced, I had high hopes for the in-screen fingerprint sensor which used ultrasonic waves to scan deeper than traditional fingerprint scanners. It seems that my enthusiasm was slightly misplaced, as the nifty tech can be bypassed by a 3D printed fingerprint.

Imgur user darkshark bypassed the security of the snazzy sensor by starting from a move right out of a movie – getting a photograph of a fingerprint on the side of a glass. Some simple Photoshop processing gave a file to pass to 3ds Max, a commonly used 3D modeling software program, which then turned that image into a 3D fingerprint. 13 minutes later, a perfectly-formed, sensor-beguiling physical fake fingerprint was completed.

Here you can see the Imgur user using the 3D printed fingerprint to unlock the Galaxy S10

A few minor tweaks between three more prints and the phone sensor was successfully fooled

Sometimes, unlocking the phone just as well as his actual finger does. darkshark notes that payment and banking apps (and just about anything on Android with a login, judging by my phone app list) are increasingly using fingerprint authentication as the unlock method, instead of password+username combinations. With how easily the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S10 was fooled, anyone using the fingerprint unlock mode on their phones should take a minute to think about the implications.

The 3D printer used was a sub-$500 Anycubic Photon LCD resin printer, showing that this kind of sci-fi thriller tech is no longer the province of corporations and governments – the capability is available to anyone with a credit card. Scary how easily security can be subverted. Honestly, your fingerprint scanner is there for ease-of-use, not any serious attempt at security.

A recent Federal court case upheld that the Fifth Amendment covers the unlocking of biometric locks, so you’re (probably) safe from the government for the moment.

What do you think? Surprised by how easily this was accomplished on the Galaxy S10? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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