U.S. Senator Raises Concerns Over Security With The Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Scanner

May 14, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

You may or may not have heard that the Samsung Galaxy S5’s finger print scanner had been hacked. It’s OK if you hadn’t. Don’t feel bad, I didn’t know that it had been either. It’s easy to miss things like this with all the other tech related news flying around out there. There are plenty of people who didn’t miss that particular headline though and one of those people is U.S. Senator Al Franken. Reports from near the time after the Galaxy S5 had launched were that some German researchers had demonstrated the biometric scanner on the Galaxy S5 was hackable, which apparently raises quite a few concerns with Senator Franken. The most obvious concern would deal with access to people’s money, which we could understand since PayPal is the first payment application to support the security feature on Samsung’s newest flagship and the idea of hackers gaining access to those funds through a fingerprint is all but reassuring.

For Senator Franken though the security feature is less about security and more about stopping potential threats. Franken’s basis for having immediate worry and concern? The fact that the fingerprint scanner allows for virtually limitless attempts to swipe your unique fingerprint over the scanner area. Should you be having some sort of malfunction with the fingerprint scanner method of unlocking the device or using apps that support the feature, you do have the option of putting in an alternative password, but you aren’t required to do so. The option is simply that, an option, so you could potentially be swiping away all day until you just get tired of trying and give up.

The other concern is that the Fingerprint scanner is less secure than that of a traditional password like we’re used to using for pretty much everything else. Passwords can be just as limitless as your opportunities to swipe the fingerprint on the Galaxy S5 seeing as how they can be changed out or swapped as often as you’d like. Franken makes a note of the fact that with the Fingerprint scanner you only have a small number of variable options to use. If you chose to you could seemingly swap them out every single day if you wish. At least till you reach a point just shy of 2 weeks, and run out of fingers. Franken has apparently reached out to Samsung asking for answers to questions like how it secures the fingerprints, but as one would suspect Samsung hasn’t responded. We imagine though if there is any sort of threat that might cause Samsung to second guess themselves, questions and concerns like these from a U.S. senator will probably be leading to Samsung doubling back on efforts to make sure things are as safe and secure as possible for their customers.