It was recently discovered that the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ have a major security flaw that makes it easy to bypass their fingerprint locks. On a scale of “one” to “not good,” we are definitely towards the right on this one.
To be fair, fingerprint sensors and other biometric security features aren’t ironclad; hackers can successfully get around these kinds of security measures, albeit with a fair amount of work.
However, the Galaxy S10’s fingerprint sensor can be fooled with the simple addition of a screen protector or phone case made of silicone, tempered glass, or plastic. The interference from the protective material is apparently enough to confuse the sensor so anyone’s finger tap can unlock the phone. (Ugh.)
Samsung has opened an internal investigation in response to the complaints, but it might be a while before an official fix hits — hopefully not, given the widespread implications of this issue. For now, the company is recommending Galaxy S10 and S10+ owners only use Samsung accessories and phone cases, but that advice really only helps make your own fingerprint more legible to the S10’s sensor. It’s not going to actually improve your phone’s security.
The simplest solution is to just ditch using the Galaxy S10 or S10+’s protective accessories, but that won’t do much, since someone could easily lift your phone and slip on a case themselves to exploit the fingerprint bug. And while switching to a different lock screen method might be wise at this point, these can also be bypassed by a savvy enough hacker.
Be extra cautious about your phone’s whereabouts and who you let use it, and have a contingency plan in place to protect your data should your phone — or identity — ever get stolen.