One of the best bits of news to come from Samsung announcing the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge was the new fingerprint sensor. The days of swiping your finger across the pad and hoping things worked out are gone, and in its place we find a single press scanner that promises to be both easier to use and generally more secure. This new tech raises some interesting questions, and our forums have had a lot to say about what is expected with this new tech. Whenever we get to talking about security here at Android Central, we have to make it clear that there's an ocean of difference between totally secure and relatively secure.
While Android 5.0 and the new Galaxy S6 tech work together to make you a great deal more secure, we're still basically talking about being relatively secure, and a lot of that has to do with how you choose to use your phone.
While Samsung is going to make a lot of people happy with this new, fast fingerprint sensor, there's a couple of caveats. The biggest of these is how secure the tech actually is. Using your fingerprint is more secure than not having a password at all, but if someone really wants to get into your phone there's not a whole lot about that sensor that will slow someone down. Much like the exploits seen with Apple's TouchID, a decent photo of your thumb and a couple hours with some glue and a printer will yield something that is good enough to bypass your fingerprint sensor most of the time. This level of security is great for stopping your kid from getting into your phone, or stopping your friend from snatching your phone to drunk dial your ex, but beyond that you're better off using a really good password.
A secondary part of the forum conversation had to do with how Samsung stores your fingerprint and whether or not other companies were allowed to access that information. Samsung is allowing your fingerprint to act as a login for certain websites, so it's easy to assume that there may be some data exchange going on there. While you don't need to worry about Samsung sharing your fingerprints with anyone, the best way to make sure no one can easily extract any kind of data from your phone is to enable encryption. We already know that Android Lollipop offers some worthy encryption tools, and while this feature isn't enabled by default on the Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy S6 edge, it's quite simple to enable.
So there you have it. Samsung's new fingerprint tech may not be the impenetrable fortress (see how I didn't make a Knox joke there?) you were looking for, but it's going to make your day to day security a little better and that's not nothing. If you're picking up a Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 edge, this should ablsolutely be one of your first stops in setting up your new phone.