In October, Samsung found itself in a bit of hot water as it was revealed that its newest smartphones, the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10, suffered a major security flaw that basically allowed any fingerprint to unlock the device depending on the screen protector installed on the handset.
At the time, Samsung says that a software patch was already in the works and that, at some point in the near future, handsets out in the wild would be updated to address the security flaw. That was on October 17. Now, less than ten days later, the company has started rolling out the software patch, according to Reuters.
Samsung issued an apology to device owners via its official support app, Samsung Members, and is sending out notifications to device owners who have registered their fingerprint (biometric) data on their device, informing them to update to the newest software as soon as possible.
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 its Korean app
According to Android Central, the software patch is only available for device owners in South Korea for now, but, as long as it all goes smoothly, the update should expand to other markets in the near future.
When it was initially discovered, it turned out that installing a gel screen protector on either the Galaxy S10 or the Galaxy Note 10 would cause the device to register any fingerprint pressed to the display, where the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader is installed. An owner in Britain was the first to discover the issue, first using her left thumb to bypass the security measure (she initially registered her right thumb), and then trying again to unlock her phone by using her husband’s thumb, which was not registered on the device at all.
In every case the Galaxy S10 unlocked without issue. Samsung later confirmed that the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor can effectively be tricked by some protective accessories:
Samsung has said the issue can happen when patterns appearing on certain protectors that come with silicon cases are recognized along with fingerprints.
It’s not great that Samsung found itself in this position to begin with, but the silver lining here, especially for device owners out in the wild, is that the company has a software patch to fix the issue so quickly after it was made public.