False Acceptance

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What Does False Acceptance Mean?

False acceptance is an error in biometrics that causes an unauthorized person to be authenticated. Biometrics uses distinguishing human characteristics as a mode of authentication, such as fingerprints or voice. False acceptance is the most serious biometric security problem, as it permits unauthorized users to access sensitive systems.

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Techopedia Explains False Acceptance

For example, assume that User A owns a laptop, which boots using a fingerprinting mechanism. User B tries to log on to User A’s laptop. If User B succeeds, this is false acceptance. In reality, no biometric system is ideal, so the best designers can do is to minimize false positive results.

One way of determining the accuracy of a biometric system is by calculating the false acceptance ratio. An independent trial may be conducted to test the system, using people with different physical characteristics. To obtain an accurate reading, many participants need to be involved. Facial recognition can fail in low light conditions due to poor picture quality. Similarly, voice recognition systems may fail in a noisy environment. Testing helps determine situations where false positives are likely to occur and thus minimize them.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.