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Standardized testing for biometrics

Standardized anti-spoof testing brings law and order to the ‘wild west’

Standardized biometric presentation attack detection (PAD) testing is finally here, bringing accountability to the biometrics industry, itself charged with providing trust in cyberspace. Over the past five years, the biometrics industry has experienced massive growth thanks to the integration of biometric hardware in consumer smartphones. The mainstream popularity heavily promoted by the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google helped biometrics overcome the privacy stigma derived from its use in law enforcement and created a paradigm shift allowing biometrics to become a must-have for a premium user experience.

The catalyst for more convenient device access, biometrics have also since become a standard hardware feature on many lower-tier smart devices. But uninformed enthusiasm along with massive sensor fragmentation created a technological frontier often likened to the Wild West by industry analysts.

With virtually no structured PAD testing available, biometric security testing was narrowly focused on algorithm vs. algorithm performance, not real-world applications, leaving the industry on the honor system when reporting anti-spoofing capabilities. “Optimistic” in-house, self-attested results led to overly-hyped marketing claims making it impossible for customers to understand and assess security performance.

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