Samsung has released a patch for Galaxy S10 and Note 10’s fingerprint reader, fixing a problem discovered by The Sun that could allow anyone’s fingerprints to be used to unlock an S10 with certain types of screen protectors attached (via Reuters). Since this was deemed a high security issue, the company worked faster, than usual, to get a fix in the works and out in the wild.
According to Android Central, the update is only available for S10 and Note 10 devices in South Korea for now, although it should be rolling out to additional countries in the near future. Why it is only being released in South Korea first is unusual, but not at the same time. For updates to be released on different providers, many individual providers have to test the update before being released.
The company previously warned users that unsanctioned screen protectors could cause issues. Samsung’s official support site already notes that “unofficial, scratched or dirty screen protectors may cause the fingerprint sensor to malfunction.” But there’s a big difference between “malfunction” and “allow anyone to get into your phone,” which likely explains the speed at which Samsung is getting this update out.
Samsung previously explained the problem by noting that the ultrasonic fingerprint was mistakenly “recognizing 3-dimensional patterns appearing on certain silicone screen protecting cases as users’ fingerprints.” As a temporary solution, Samsung recommends that users both remove the problematic screen protectors and reregister their prints or use a different authentication method (like a regular password) until the patch is released.
The patch for Galaxy S10 and Note 10 is the main reason no one should purchase a device on launch day. It never fails (regardless of whether it’s Apple or Samsung) that there are security issues with devices. As we have always said, instead of getting a patch for Galaxy S10, save yourself some trouble and wait a few months for them to work out the bugs. Much less annoying that way.