The smartphones come with a lock screen feature meant to keep other people from sneaking in and viewing your personal information on your device. However, it seems that the lock screen can’t be entirely trusted after all. It looks like there is a bug that allows users to see what’s on the home screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Also, there is another bug, a more powerful one, that gives the users the possibility to bypass the lock screen and take control over the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Mobile blogger Terence Eden has come across the bug that affects the Galaxy Note 2 and posted an article about the issue on his own blog, because he found out that the South Korean company lacks a dedicated disclosure team. There are more than one lock screen types that are affected by the bug, namely pattern Lock, PIN, face Lock, and even the Password Lock which is supposed to be the most reliable one. If you’re wondering if your Samsung Galaxy Note 2 can be accessed while on lock screen you can follow the some steps and check Eden’s theory. First of all, lock the handset using the lock screen types that I mentioned above. After that activate the screen and tap the Emergency Call button. On the bottom left on the screen there is the ICE button, press it. Then tap the Home physical button, after which tap on any application or widget on your device’s home screen. For instance, if you tap the direct dial widget you’ll see that the call will be made without you needing to unlock the screen.
Even though the bug is rather harmless, this could be a problem as the emergency dialer bug can affect your device even if you use a distinct launcher or a 3rd party lock screen.
Just days after Eden posted his article, another phone user came across a resembling bug, this time affecting the Samsung Galaxy S3. The user is named Sean McMillan and posted a tutorial on how the lock screen can be bypassed on the Full Disclosure mailing list.
The steps go like this: press the emergency call button on the lock screen, then the ICE emergency contacts button, then press the Home button and quickly press the dedicated power button. In case it works, you will be able to access the home screen after pressing the power button again.
However, McMillan says that you probably won’t be able to recreate the big on your first try. You’ll might have to repeat the steps a few times to actually work, maybe more than a few. When you will finally succeed, your lock screen will be disabled until you reboot the smartphone. He adds that the bug is more likely to be invoked if you enable the automatic screen rotation. He tried it on three Samsung Galaxy S3 units having the model number GT-I9300, kernel version 3.031-742798, and running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
This bug is a pretty serious issue unlike the one of the Galaxy Note 2. Samsung hasn’t made any comments about the matter. Maybe the company is currently occupied with fixing the copy-paste clipboard bug.
Luckily, the only Android-based handsets which are affected by the flaw are the smartphones that run the customized software of Samsung.