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Are biometrics less secure than we originally thought? According to recent reports, many biometric implementations (whether that be fingerprint scanners or face recognition) can be wildly inaccurate even though many biometrics are falsely seen as being very accurate and may be sufficient to dissuade some fraud attempts.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) evaluation ratings, the best solutions that the market has to offer have an error rate of 1.9%, meaning almost two mistakes for every 100 tests. That is a far cry from NIST’s initial goal of one mistake per 100,000 scans and certainly nowhere close to the figures touted by most vendors. Many experts report seeing errors at 1:500 or even lower.

In independent testing, many biometrics simply do not accurately deliver on their promise, according to On top of that, many vendors, including Apple (iOS) and Google (Android), make marketing choices in their settings, where they choose how stringent or lenient the authentication is. They do not want a lot of people being improperly locked out of their phones, so they choose to make it less strict, in effect giving a greenlight to device access by higher numbers of unauthorized people.

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