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The ‘concerning’ way anyone can hack into your phone

Anastasia Santoreneos
Samsung-owners using screen protectors are at a risk of security breach. Source: Getty
Samsung-owners using screen protectors are at a risk of security breach. Source: Getty

Last week, a British couple flagged a worrying flaw in the wife’s Samsung Galaxy S10: any fingerprint could unlock her phone when placed under her gel screen cover.

The couple told the Sun that “anyone can access it”, and it meant their financial apps and information were vulnerable.

“It’s a real concern,” she said.

Samsung responded, saying the breach was due to a bug in the S10/Note 10’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, which caused the phone to mistakenly recognise 3-dimensional patterns in certain screen protectors.

“This issue involved ultrasonic fingerprint sensors unlocking devices after recognising 3-dimensional patterns appearing on certain silicone screen protecting cases as users’ fingerprints,” the tech giant said.

How to protect yourself

To prevent having your phone unlocked by someone else, Samsung is advising customers to remove their screen protectors and wipe their fingerprints.

“To prevent any further issues, we advise that Galaxy Note10/10+ and S10/S10+/S10 5G users who use such covers to remove the cover, delete all previous fingerprints and newly register their fingerprints.

“If you currently use front screen protective covers, to ensure optimum fingerprint scanning, please refrain from using this cover until your device has been updated with a new software patch.”

Samsung users were advised a software update would be released this week, and once updated, they should scan their fingerprint “in its entirety” and re-register their fingerprints without the silicone cover.

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