Samsung Exposed Security Issues on the Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner

Recently, a security issue with Samsung’s ultrasonic fingerprint scanner raised concerns over the Internet.

Views of netizens

Some Internet users have concerns about the security of this technology. They are of the opinion that the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner itself is not secure enough. 

While some Internet users believe that this is because the British user has registered her fingerprint when using a screen cover. They still consider the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner as the most advanced technology in the industry. 

Samsung used Qualcomm’s third-generation 3D ultrasonic fingerprint sensor to identify fingerprints ultrasonically. This allows the phone to scan the texture of the silicone case when the user registers a fingerprint over the silicone case. They hold the view that when a user registers a fingerprint with a protective film, the texture of the silicone case instead of the user’s fingerprint is scanned. 

Later, an Internet user claims to unlock the Samsung phone with an unregistered fingerprint when the phone is applied a TPU film. In this case, the user registered a fingerprint without a screen cover. It makes Samsung’s security issue more sophisticated.

This security issue is extremely serious

Your smartphone security is essential to your personal information and financial security because the fingerprint is used to unlock a phone as well as to pay, which will raise a lot of concerns. Various payment services, including Samsung Pay, allow users to verify a payment with their fingerprints. This means that anyone can access your mobile banking apps on Samsung smartphones, which poses a big threat to the financial security of users.

Discovery of this security hole

This was first discovered by a British couple on October 13. The wife applied a screen protector to her Samsung Galaxy S10 and scanned her right thumbprint. Then, she found that her left thumb, which hasn’t registered, could unlock her S10. So did her husband’s thumbs.  

Samsung Electronics immediately recognized the seriousness of this case and issued an official statement the day after the discovery, admitting that there was a malfunction with the fingerprint recognition program on Samsung Galaxy S10 and Note 10 series. It was claimed that this was only a malfunction that could be resolved with a patch. In addition, it advised users to stop using screen covers, remove previous fingerprints and register new fingerprints without a screen protector. This was just a temporary solution to the security issue. Relevant fixes will be published as soon as possible. 

Since this security issue was extremely serious, not only Samsung took immediate action to resolve it but also many banks denied login or payment via a fingerprint. Two UK banks removed their mobile banking apps directly from Samsung Galaxy S10.

On October 24, Samsung Electronics announced that a software update had been released to resolve the fingerprint identification issue in the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 series. On “Samsung Members”, Samsung also made an apology and kindly remind its users to update their biometric authentication to the latest version of the software as soon as possible. 

Conclusion 

This ultrasonic fingerprint scanner used to be the pride of Qualcomm. It can not only identify the user’s fingerprint texture through water, grease and other things but also detect human blood, which means that fake phones and artificial skin are impossible to fool the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. Samsung touted it at the launch as a revolution in biometric authentication. 

It’s time to pay attention to your security and privacy online as well. We strongly recommend you use a VPN to browse the Internet. Choose a reliable VPN service now!!!

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