Biometric security now has an industry-wide testing standard

FIDO can certify that a fingerprint reader is up to snuff.

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Chris Velazco/Engadget
Chris Velazco/Engadget

Biometric security is par for the course on smartphones and increasingly common on PCs, but there hasn't been a standard way to verify that the technology passes muster. That's where the FIDO Alliance might help. It's launching a first-of-its-kind Biometric Component Certification Program that will use independent labs to test the performance and security of fingerprint readers, face recognition and other sign-in devices across the industry. If a vendor wants to show that its face unlock feature can't be fooled by a photo, it won't have to jump through hoops to prove it.

The approach could reassure both users and partners (including service providers and phone makers) that biometric systems are trustworthy for logins and purchases. For the component creators, it promises to save time and money -- they won't have to prove themselves multiple times. In practice, this could lead to both a baseline expectation of security in the devices you use as well as more devices that use biometrics in the first place.

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