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Biometrics 'not yet ready to secure corporate IT'

Biometric technology is not mature enough to secure corporate IT systems, Gartner warned this week, as the government stepped up...

Biometric technology is not mature enough to secure corporate IT systems, Gartner warned this week, as the government stepped up trials of the technology for its national ID card programme.

Anthony Allan, research director at Gartner, speaking ahead of Gartner's Security Summit in London this week, said that other technologies, such as smartcards and secure ID tokens were better and more reliable than biometrics at authenticating identity.

His comments came as the Home Office begins regional trials of biometric fingerprint, iris and facial recognition systems, using mobile survey vans, in a programme to gather data from 10,000 volunteer card testers.

Although some firms claim to have successfully deployed biometric technology to authenticate staff using their IT systems, they may be glossing over the potential risks, he said.

"My feeling is that organisations will often consider the project successful if people can sign themselves on. But they are not demonstrating with any degree of rigour that it is stopping someone impersonating users," said Allan.

Working groups have identified a range of potential security threats to biometric systems, including risks posed by intruders using contact lenses to fool iris systems, or false fingerprints to dupe fingerprint readers.

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