- Samsung has acknowledged the existence of a flaw in its Galaxy S10 smartphones that lets anyone unlock them with their thumbprint.
- According to The Sun newspaper, the British woman who first spotted the flaw said her husband was able to unlock her S10 with his thumbprint, simply by adding a cheap screen protector.
- Samsung described The Galaxy S10’s built-in fingerprint recognition tech as “revolutionary” when it launched in March 2019.
- A spokeswoman for Samsing said “we are investigating this issue and will be deploying a software patch soon.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Samsung has acknowledged the existence of a flaw in its Galaxy S10 smartphones that seems to let anyone’s thumbprint unlock them if there is a screen protector applied.
The Sun newspaper reports that the flaw was first spotted by a British woman, Lisa Neilson, after she applied a £2.70 ($US3.45) screen protector to her phone. With the protector on, Neilson found she could use her left thumb to unlock the phone – despite it ostensibly being set up to recognise only her right thumb.
Neilson then realised that seemingly any thumbprint could unlock the phone, provided the protector was applied to it, including her husband’s thumbprints. She spotted the same flaw when placing the screen protector over her sister’s own Galaxy S10 phone.
Samsung did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, but BBC News reports that Samsung said it was “aware of the case of S10’s malfunctioning fingerprint recognition and will soon issue a software patch.”
A spokeswoman for Samsung told Business Insider that “we are investigating this issue and will be deploying a software patch soon. We encourage any customers with questions or who need support downloading the latest software to contact us directly at 0330 000 0333.”
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 phone series – the regular version of which costs $US900 – was unveiled to to much fanfare in February 2019 and released in March. Samsung itself heralded the phone’s fingerprint recognition technology as “revolutionary.”
It’s not clear how widespread the issue is; Mike Murphy, a reporter for Quartz, wrote on Twitter that in his own tests he had been unable to replicate the problem.
Samsung’s high-end smartphones have had a patchy track record on hardware issues.
Early users and reviewers of Samsung’s $US2,000 Galaxy Fold phone in April 2019 reported that their units were breaking after just two days of use, forcing the company to cancel the launch at the last minute and retool the devices.
And in 2016, battery malfunctions in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphones caused many of the devices to overheat, melt, or even burst into flames. There were at least 96 cases reported, the device was banned from aircrafts, and a a six-year-old boy was reportedly burnt by an exploding unit. After a recall failed to solve the issue, it was permanently discontinued.