February 21, 2019

Galaxy S10’s fingerprint reader first to receive biometric certification

By Ellen Daniel

There has been much excitement about the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S10, unveiled at Samsung’s Unpacked event last night.

Boasting the latest in smartphone technology, one of the features of Samsung’s much-awaited phone may go unnoticed to many users.

Most new smartphones are now equipped with fingerprint recognition, but the new Samsung Galaxy Ultrasonic Fingerprint System on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ smartphones is the first in the world to be awarded FIDO Biometric Certification.

FIDO Biometric Certification indicates that the system meets global performance standards and Presentation Attack Detection (PAD).

Presentation attacks, or “spoof” attacks, are when an attacker imitates a person’s fingerprint, with a silicone replica for example, to gain access to their device via the fingerprint reader. With realms personal information stored on smartphones, this represents a significant security risk.

Why fingerprint reader standards are important

Brett McDowell, executive director of FIDO Alliance explains why this means it is important to have an international standard for devices with a fingerprint reader and other biometric systems:

“As mobile devices increasingly become our primary means of storing sensitive information and conducting critical transactions, the industry leaders in FIDO Alliance have determined the market needs a standard-based means to assess the efficacy of biometric certification components — which is why we recently launched our Biometric Component Certification Program. By being first to market with FIDO Alliance biometric component certification for their new line of Galaxy devices, Samsung is positioning the Galaxy S10 and S10+ as the industry best practice for biometric-enabled devices, while at the same time validating the necessity of our program to provide this important benchmark to the marketplace.”

This ability to test and certify a biometric system only once results in substantial time and cost savings for vendors and means that customers can trust their device’s fingerprint reader and other biometric systems that rely on iris, face and voice recognition.

Set up to address the “lack of interoperability among strong authentication technologies, and remedy the problems users face with creating and remembering multiple usernames and passwords” The FIDO Alliance tests biometric systems through accredited independent labs that check whether they meet performance and security standards to ensure that data and privacy is protected.

Dr Kevin Wilson of iBeta, one of the labs performing the tests, believes that The FIDO Alliance believes it fills an important gap in the market:

“The FIDO Alliance Biometric Component Certification program fills an important gap in our industry as biometrics expand out of the enterprise and government marketplace into the mainstream consumer electronics marketplace. We are very pleased to be the first accredited lab to perform biometric certification assessments under this program.”

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