It seems that Samsung is having some problems with its fancy new fingerprint scanners. Introduced on the Galaxy S10 and now on the Galaxy Note 10, the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor promised to be more accurate and more foolproof than typical in-display optical sensors. That was not the case, at least not initially, and Samsung faced criticism for how the scanner could be fooled by a 3D printed finger. It is once again in the hot seat but now even financial institutions are taking action to the point of blacklisting the Galaxy S10 because of the security risk.
The most recent criticism facing this rather novel biometric technology has to do with screen protectors. Apparently, those that have minuscule patterns on the surface can confuse the sensor. Long story short, it could accept and authenticate fingerprints that haven’t even been enrolled in the system.
Samsung has acknowledged the issue and promises a fix soon. In the meantime, it is recommending that users remove third-party screen protectors and only use Samsung’s official ones. They may also need to reset their fingerprints, even after they remove the screen protector.
For some banks and financial institutions, those might not be enough to assure them of the Galaxy S10’s security. With the update nowhere in sight, some have disallowed the Galaxy S10 from installing mobile banking apps. In other cases, banks have simply removed fingerprint authentication temporarily. The Galaxy Note 10 may be next since it uses the same sensor and is probably affected by the same bug.
Samsung has not given a timeline when this critical security fix will actually roll out but it’s one thing it can delay for too long. That said, with a second major security issue, some banks and organizations, not to mention users, may have less confidence in that ultrasonic fingerprint sensor altogether.