Samsung Issues Software Patch to Fix Screen Protector Flaw in Galaxy S10 Fingerprint Sensor

Samsung has issued a software patch for its Galaxy S10 smartphone to fix a flaw in the under-screen fingerprint sensor that allowed anyone to unlock the device with the help of a cheap screen protector (via Reuters).


The problem was brought to light last week, when a British user who applied a gel screen protector to her Galaxy S10 subsequently discovered that unregistered fingerprints could be used to unlock the device.

Samsung later admitted the issue can happen when patterns appearing on certain protectors that come with silicon cases are recognized along with fingerprints.

On Wednesday, Samsung issued an apology via its customer support app Samsung Members and told Galaxy phone owners to update their biometric authentication to the latest software version.
"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 via the support app.
The Galaxy S10 is the latest in Samsung's flagship S series, which is updated each year and regarded as the iPhone's main rival, but the fingerprint recognition problem in its latest smartphone has already caused reputational damage, with some banks pulling their apps from the Play store in response to the security flaw.


Samsung originally aimed to bring an under-display fingerprint sensor to its smartphone line-up in 2018, but canceled the feature at the last minute due to similar technical issues surrounding the use of screen protectors.

In March, the Korean company launched the S10 with much fanfare and promoted its first commercial under-screen fingerprint recognition solution as "revolutionary" at the time.


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Samsung Admits Major Security Flaw in Galaxy S10 Under-Screen Fingerprint Sensor

A major flaw in Samsung's Galaxy S10 smartphone has been discovered that basically means any fingerprint can unlock the device with the help of a cheap screen protector.


According to the BBC, a British woman discovered the authentication flaw after she applied a cheap gel screen protector bought off eBay to her Galaxy S10.

She soon discovered that she was able to authenticate as the owner by pressing her left thumbprint against the phone's onscreen fingerprint sensor – the problem being that she hadn't registered her thumb with the device's biometric authenticaton system.

Her suspicions were confirmed when her husband was also able to unlock the phone by pressing either one of his thumbs on the screen's built-in sensor. The screen protector was then applied to another relative's Galaxy S10 and the same thing occurred.

Responding to the incident, Samsung said it was "aware of the case of S10's malfunctioning fingerprint recognition and will soon issue a software patch."

Previous reports have suggested that certain screen protectors are "incompatible" with Samsung's fingerprint sensor because they leave a small air gap that can interfere with the scanning. The sensor relies on ultrasound to detect the microscopic ridges that make every fingerprint unique.

The Galaxy S10 is the latest in Samsung's flagship S series, which is usually regarded as the iPhone's annual rival. The Korean company launched the phone in March and referred to its under-screen fingerprint authentication system as "revolutionary."

(Thanks, Chris!)


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Leaked Image Shows Three Models in Samsung Galaxy S10 Line-up

Over the weekend, serial mobile leaker Evan Blass shared a leaked image of Samsung's forthcoming Galaxy S10 lineup, confirming earlier rumors that it will initially consist of three models to compete directly with Apple's latest devices, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR.

Leaked official image via @evleaks

The handsets shown in the image are encased in clear covers and understood to be (from left to right) the S10E, the S10, and the S10+. All of the phones adopt Samsung's new edge-to-edge Infinity-O display, which features a small cutout at the upper right side of the device for the camera.

The S10 with 6.1-inch display is the mid-range device, while the S10E with 5.8-inch display is expected to be the most affordable model and appears in the image with two cameras on the rear where the other two phones have three. Meanwhile the premium S10+ with 6.4-inch display features two front-facing cameras housed within a longer pill-shaped hole punch.

Samsung is able to use a single camera cutout for the S10 because it is has less technology than Apple's latest iPhones, which use a notch design to house the TrueDepth camera system that enables Face ID.

However, as suggested in the image, all the devices in the S10 line-up are expected to use in-display fingerprint scanners for authentication instead of the rear-mounted scanners featured on earlier Galaxy models.

Details on the phones' internal specs remain murky. However, ahead of its debut date, publicly shared benchmarks recently revealed the new S10+ model has 6GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 855 processor, earning the device lower Geekbench scores than Apple's latest iPhones.

Meanwhile, Samsung's rumored 5G variant of its upcoming flagship, the tentatively named "Galaxy S10 X", has reportedly appeared in a recent firmware development. According to Sam Mobile, the software build references only South Korean carriers, suggesting development for the U.S. and European markets has yet to reach a similar stage.

Other rumored specs for the S10 X include a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display, a 5,000 mAh battery and four rear cameras. The 5G model is expected to appear in the second quarter of 2019, with one report pegging it for a launch in late March.

Samsung's Unpacked Galaxy S10 launch event will take place on Wednesday, February 20 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, where the company is also expected to demo a functioning version of its all-new foldable phone, dubbed the "Galaxy Fold".


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Samsung Announces Galaxy S10 Event on February 20 in San Francisco, May Include Foldable Smartphone

Samsung today announced it will be hosting an event on Wednesday, February 20 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, with the media invitation teasing new Galaxy S10 smartphones.

Samsung's event invite

The Wall Street Journal today reported that Samsung plans to announce three new Galaxy S10 models along with an all-new foldable smartphone dubbed the "Galaxy Fold" at the event, with a simultaneous keynote in London. A fourth model with 5G network support will allegedly be released later in the spring.

Rumors point towards Samsung unveiling a lower-end Galaxy S10 Lite with a 5.8-inch display, Galaxy S10 with a 6.1-inch display, and Galaxy S10+ with a 6.4-inch display. The devices are expected to be released in March as usual.

Samsung typically unveils its Galaxy S smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which takes place February 25-28 this year. Samsung reportedly decided to move up its announcement since Chinese smartphone maker Huawei plans to introduce a competing foldable smartphone at the trade show.

Leaks suggest Galaxy S10 models will feature a so-called "hole-punch" display with a small cutout for the front camera instead of a notch. More cameras are also expected across the lineup, with up to a four-lens rear camera and dual-lens front camera expected on at least one Galaxy S10+ variant.

Alleged photo of Galaxy S10 via Evan Blass

Galaxy smartphones are one of the biggest rivals to the iPhone, which is also expected to gain a triple-lens rear camera in 2019. Apple is unlikely to switch to a hole-punch display, however, due to the various sensors required for Face ID.


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Samsung Expected to Match 2018 iPhone Sizes With Galaxy S10 Lineup

Apple is widely rumored to introduce a trio of new iPhones in September, including a second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X, a larger 6.46-inch version dubbed iPhone X Plus, and a 6.1-inch model with only some iPhone X features.

Galaxy S9

Perhaps inspired by those plans, respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Samsung will follow suit with its Galaxy S10 lineup next year, including 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.4-inch models. Kuo outlined his predictions in his latest research note with TF International Securities, seen by Business Insider.

Kuo notes that the 6.1-inch and 6.4-inch models will be equipped with an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner built into the display, a feature that Apple decided against on the iPhone X. The technology will also be built into the Galaxy Note 10 later in 2019, according to his research note.

Kuo's prediction will surely reignite a long-standing debate about Samsung copying Apple, just weeks after the two companies settled a seven-year-long lawsuit in which Samsung was found guilty of copying the iPhone's design.

Korean website The Bell previously reported that one of the Galaxy S10 models will be a lower-cost option, in line with the rumored 6.1-inch iPhone, which is expected to have some iPhone X features like Face ID, and an edge-to-edge display with a notch, but lack others, like an OLED display.

The lower-cost Galaxy S10 will also have tradeoffs, such as a fingerprint scanner built into the edge of the device, according to Kuo.

The Bell also said the Galaxy S10+ will feature five camera lenses: three on the back, and two on the front. The rear system is said to include the same 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and 12-megapixel telephoto lens as the Galaxy S9+, plus an all-new 16-megapixel 120º ultra-wide-angle lens.

Apple is also rumored to introduce at least one new iPhone with a triple-lens rear camera in 2019, but likely not until September, which would likely be after the first triple-lens Galaxy S10 is released, so it's not always Samsung following second. Huawei was first to release a triple-lens smartphone regardless.

Samsung is also said to be considering adding 3D facial recognition to the Galaxy S9 lineup, in line with Face ID on the iPhone X. Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 models already feature facial recognition, but it is 2D, and tests proved that the systems could be spoofed with a photo of a face.

One feature that Samsung has yet to copy, unlike several other Android smartphone makers, is the iPhone X's notch. Galaxy S9 models still have slim, uniform bezels along the top and bottom of the display, although Samsung has patented a notched smartphone design, and could use it eventually.

As usual, Samsung will likely unveil its Galaxy S10 lineup at Mobile World Congress in February 2019, with availability in March.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhones

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Samsung Galaxy S10+ Expected to Have Triple-Lens Rear Camera and Dual-Lens Front Camera

While the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ were only released nearly four months ago, rumors have already surfaced about the Galaxy S10 lineup.

Galaxy S9

Korean website The Bell today reported that Samsung plans to release a trio of new Galaxy S smartphones next year, including the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and a lower-priced version of the Galaxy S10. The latter device is expected to be the first-ever entry-level Galaxy S model, not a Galaxy A or Galaxy J model.

If that sounds familiar, it is because Apple is widely rumored to introduce a trio of new iPhones this September, including a second-generation iPhone X, a larger 6.5-inch version dubbed the iPhone X Plus, and a lower-priced 6.1-inch iPhone, with some but not all features of the iPhone X.

The report adds that the Galaxy S10+ will feature a triple-lens rear camera system and a dual-lens front camera system. The rear system is said to include the same 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and 12-megapixel telephoto lens as the Galaxy S9+, in addition to an all-new 16-megapixel 120º ultra-wide-angle lens.

Again, if that sounds familiar, it is because Apple is rumored to introduce at least one new iPhone with a triple-lens rear camera in 2019.

The standard-sized Galaxy S10 is expected to have a single-lens front camera and a triple-lens rear camera, while the entry-level Galaxy S10 is said to sport a single-lens front camera and a dual-lens rear camera.

Last week, The Bell reported that the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ will feature an in-display fingerprint scanner, and possibly 3D facial recognition, similar to Face ID on the iPhone X. These would likely be the only biometric authentication options, as Samsung reportedly plans to exclude iris scanning on the devices.

Samsung is expected to unveil the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ at Mobile World Congress next February and release the smartphones in March.


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Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Rumored to Feature 3D Facial Recognition Like Face ID on iPhone X

Israeli startup Mantis Vision is reportedly working with camera module firm Namuga to develop 3D sensing camera solutions for Samsung's tentatively named Galaxy S10, according to Korean news outlet The Bell.


The technology would pave the way for Samsung to implement a 3D facial recognition system on the Galaxy S10, similar to Face ID on the iPhone X. The new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, which officially launch tomorrow, still rely on a less secure 2D facial recognition system paired with an iris scanner.

Last year, videos surfaced that showed the same 2D solution on the Galaxy S8 could be unlocked by waving a photo of the registered user's face in front of the camera. Samsung even confirmed that its facial recognition solution cannot be used to authenticate access to Samsung Pay or its Secure Folder feature.

By comparison, Face ID uses a structured-light technique that projects a pattern of 30,000 laser dots onto a user's face and measures the distortion to generate an accurate 3D image for authentication. Face ID has been duped with sophisticated masks, but not with a simple photo of a person.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently opined that it would take Android smartphone makers up to two and a half years to catch up with Face ID. Apple released the iPhone X last November, while the Galaxy S10 will likely be released around March or April of 2019, a roughly one-and-a-half year span.

It's a given that Samsung will catch up with Face ID at some point, but it remains to be seen if its 3D facial recognition system can match the iPhone X's user experience. Around this time next year, we should find out.


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