Phone

Cheap Galaxy S10 screen protector turns into security nightmare

The ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S10 was the first of its kind when the Galaxy S10 series was launched earlier this year, but it had one limitation: It didn’t work well with tempered glass screen protectors. The ultrasonic fingerprint reader works by firing sound waves at the user’s finger and reading how those waves are reflected back, and standard tempered glass protectors create a slight gap between the finger and the display that reduce the sensor’s effectiveness.

Accessory makers overcame this limitation with liquid-based tempered screen protectors, which use liquid adhesive to form a tighter bond between the protector and the phone display. However, this turned out to be a major security flaw for one Galaxy S10 owner, who bought a ‘gel screen protector’ off eBay and found that any fingerprint could unlock the phone once the protector was installed. Samsung has said that it is investigating the matter and has simply blamed the issue on a cheap screen protector for now — the one on the affected device costed around $3.

Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors may be the best solution for front-facing fingerprint readers now that smartphones have edge-to-edge displays that leave no space for physical buttons, but they aren’t perfect. Their incompatibility with tempered screen protectors is unfortunate, and it seems only plastic ones allow ultrasonic fingerprint readers to work without issues. That might be why Samsung has said since day one that Galaxy S10 owners should stick to official screen protectors from the company, none of which include a tempered glass option.

  • Model: SM-G973F
  • Dimensions: 70.4 x 149.9 x 7.8mm
  • Display: 6.1"(157.5mm) Super AMOLED
  • CPU: Exynos 9820 Octa
  • Camera: 12 MP.CMOS F2.4 45° Telephoto & 12MP F1.5 77° & 16MP F2.2 123° Ultra-wide
  • Model: SM-G975F
  • Dimensions: 74.1 x 157.6 x 7.8mm
  • Display: 6.4"(162.5mm) Super AMOLED
  • CPU: Exynos 9820 Octa
  • Camera: 12 MP.CMOS F2.4 45° Telephoto & 12MP F1.5/F2.4 77° & 16MP F2.2 123° Ultra-wide

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vrajpatel12342312
vrajpatel12342312

Same to thing is happening on tab S6

Mario387
Mario387

Jeez are we now down to total klickbait on this site, or do you get paid per article…

Saw this story on reddit a week or so maybe 2 after release. One person. Who for all we know might have a malfunctioning fingerprint scanner.

Now if it where a lot more people it would be a little more credible.

Using a Whitestone myself now, with some experimenting and some info from yt and another glass maker, I got the reader to unlock with light pressure. No other finger then my registered one opens it.

andyx8
andyx8

So if you found a lost phone with ultrasonic fp sensor then the first thing to do is not to clean the screen, buy a $3 gel screen protector. lol

gentux
gentux

Sure this works if the fingerprint was already registered? AFAIK if you install any screen protector you have to re-register the fingerprints once and only from this point on forward you’d have disabled it’s functionality if you had the gel screen protector. But I may be mistaken.

Gunter2
Gunter2

I always think it’s funny when someone buys a thousand dollar phone but is too stingy to put a decent screen protector on it. Like buying a mansion and installing a cheap 50 buck best buy alarm system for protection. Lol

dagger1
dagger1

That would mean that anyone bought this $3 gel could put it on a stolen device and use it to bypass the fingerprint lock. Would indeed be a major security flaw.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Clever ansewer

aas007
aas007

The original user needs to use the phone first after applying the protector which would then cause a permanent fingerprint on the gel, making the sensor useless.
This is as such a flaw if the gel protector and not of the fingerprint sensor.

vanillasky
vanillasky

It won’t, propably gel remembers the print so if anyone steals your phone and get this case won’t be able to unlock if you don’t do it yourself first, Sherlock. It is an issue but not the way you described it.
On the other hand – buy a phone for +1000$ – get a case for 2.70. odd

shanghaichica
shanghaichica

I’ve got an iPhone 11 pro max for £1300 and I paid £8.99 for my case and £5.99 for the glass screen protector. I like spending money on gadgets but not accessories lol

Emraan100
Emraan100

Indeed😉