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Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked

16 Apr 2014

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 smartphone has already had its fingerprint scanner hacked, as questions remain over the effectiveness of biometrics for device security.

Apple’s iPhone 5S Touch ID tool was hacked within a few weeks of being launched, as the hacker community looks for ways to spoof the system. Now, ethical hackers with Security Research Labs have demonstrated how to beat the Galaxy S5.

In a video posted to YouTube – embedded below – they show how a print of the fingerprint registered to a device is adequate for unlocking the device.

The researchers also chided Samsung for making it possible to have unlimited attempts to use a fingerprint to log in to the device, rather than requesting a passcode after a certain number of attempts.

“Perhaps most concerning is that Samsung does not seem to have learned from what others have done less poorly," the researcher in the video said.

"Not only is it possible to spoof the fingerprint authentication even after the device has been turned off, but the implementation also allows for seemingly unlimited authentication attempts without ever requiring a password."

The Samsung Galaxy S5 hit the market last week for a not inconsiderable £579. Samsung has touted the fingerprint scanner and the inclusion of its latest Knox Security tools as proof the device is suitable for the business market.

However, the hack of the fingerprint scanner could concern some and suggest that the use of a passcode remains a simpler but more secure method of protection.

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Dan Worth
About

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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