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Researcher finds flaw in Samsung fingerprint check

Published April 17, 2014 1:51 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Berlin • A Berlin-based researcher says he has managed to fool the fingerprint-based security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone using wood glue and a picture of the original print.

Ben Schlabs, who works for Security Research Labs, says the trick is identical to the one hackers used to unlock Apple's iPhone 5s last year. The S5 flaw is potentially more serious because Schlabs says he was also able to trick the electronic payment app PayPal, which uses Samsung's fingerprint authentication.

Schlabs says users concerned about security can choose to use a strong password instead of the convenient but flawed fingerprint system.

A spokeswoman for Samsung in Germany wasn't immediately able to comment Thursday.

In a statement, PayPal says it stands behind the system and has other fraud-protection measures in place.