Samsung admits Galaxy S10 smartphone fingerprint access flaw

The world’s biggest smartphone maker has touted the Galaxy S10’s in-display fingerprint sensor as ‘revolutionary’ before problem emerged. (Reuters)
Updated 18 October 2019

Samsung admits Galaxy S10 smartphone fingerprint access flaw

  • Samsung has a history of humiliating setbacks with major products, most notably a worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 devices in 2016
  • Earlier this year it had to delay the launch of its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, after pre-release users found faulty screens

SEOUL: Tech giant Samsung Electronics on Friday acknowledged a major flaw with its fingerprint system that allows other people to open its top-end smartphones, advising users to delete all registered prints.
Samsung is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung Group and crucial to South Korea’s economic health. The conglomerate is by far the biggest of the family-controlled empires that dominate business in the world’s 11th-largest economy.
But it has a history of humiliating setbacks with major products, most notably a worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 devices in 2016 over exploding batteries, which hammered its reputation.
Earlier this year it had to delay the launch of its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, after pre-release users found faulty screens.
Samsung’s latest problem emerged after a user in the UK told the Sun newspaper earlier this week her Galaxy S10 smartphone could be unlocked by someone else simply by putting on a screen protector and applying an unregistered fingerprint.
The flaw meant anyone who got hold of her phone could transfer funds using her financial apps, the user told the British paper.
In a statement released Friday, Samsung said the issue involved “fingerprint sensors unlocking devices after recognizing three-dimensional patterns appearing on certain silicone screen protecting cases as users’ fingerprints.”
The firm advised users of the Galaxy Note10, 10+ and Galaxy S10, S10+, and S10 5G to “delete all previous fingerprints” and register their data anew.
“Please refrain from applying a silicone screen protecting case to your device until a software update, which is planned to be released beginning next week,” it added.
The statement was released a day after Samsung said it would soon roll out a fix, but did not specify what the problem was.
The world’s biggest smartphone maker has touted the Galaxy S10’s in-display fingerprint sensor as “revolutionary.”
“When you place your thumb on the screen, it sends ultrasonic pulses to detect the 3D ridges and valleys of your unique fingerprint to quickly and accurately recognize you,” the firm has said about the technology involved.
Kakaobank, South Korea’s Internet-only bank, has told its customers not to use fingerprints to access its mobile banking services and employ passwords and pattern locks instead until the problem is fixed.


Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

Updated 15 November 2019

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

  • Others have also reduced headcount amid economic downturn and property market weakness

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the UAE and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs.

The cuts come amid weak economic growth, especially in Dubai, which is suffering from a property downturn.

HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim CEO Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on.

HSBC has about 3,000 staff in the UAE, part of a nearly 10,000-strong workforce in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The cuts at Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD came in consumer sales and liabilities, one source said, while a second played down the significance of the move.

HSBC and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

“The cuts are part of cost cutting and rationalizing to drive efficiencies in a challenging market,” the second source said.

Other banks have also reduced staff this year. UAE central bank data shows local banks laid off 446 people in the 12 months until the end of September. Foreign banks added staff in the same period.

Staff at local banks account for over 80 percent of the 35,518 banking employees in the country.

The merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union Commercial Bank and Al Hilal Bank saw hundreds of redundancies.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) said it would offer voluntary retirement to employees in September, which sources said saw over 100 departures. Standard Chartered, too, cut over 100 jobs in the UAE in September.

Rating agency Fitch warned in September a weakening property market would put more pressure on the UAE’s banking sector.