The End of SMS-Based Two-Factor Authentication Is Near—Are You Ready?

If your business is using out-of-band SMS messaging in addition to passwords to secure customer transactions, you’ve officially been warned: SMS two-factor authentication is risky.

Companies have been using SMS to distribute one-time “secret” passcodes for many years. In fact, it’s the most popular anti-fraud method used by businesses today.

That’s all about to change.

Recently the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued its latest draft of the Digital Authentication Guideline. The document warns that SMS-based authentication messages are insecure, saying that it is too easy for hackers to intercept or redirect messages. There is also no way to verify that the intended recipient is in possession of the phone.

According to NIST, “OOB [out of band verification] using SMS is deprecated, and will no longer be allowed in future releases of this guidance.”

One suggested alternative is voice biometric identity verification.

People typically think of fingerprints when they hear biometrics, but voice biometrics is a better solution. Fingerprints are more easily compromised by thieves. In contrast, voiceprints must meet a number of specific vocal requirements, including the pitch and tone of a person’s voice. In other words—a voiceprint is extremely difficult to reverse engineer.

Voice biometrics is also easier to administer, requiring only a few seconds of speech into a mobile phone.

VoiceVault’s voice biometric out-of-band authentication solution is the safest alternative available. It uses an out-of-band call to a user-registered phone number, or an Android/iOS smartphone-based app. Only the genuine account holder can complete the transaction by authenticating it with his or her voice. If the rightful owner is not in possession of the phone, the fraudulent transaction will be stopped before it starts.

Switch to voice biometrics now and send a strong message to your customers: Your protection is our priority. To find out more about VoiceVault’s out-of-band authentication solution, click here.


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Want Customers to Use Your Mobile Banking App? Read This

Are you using security questions and passwords to protect your customers’ financial accounts? If so, hear this:

It may only be a matter of time before your customers take their business to another bank.

When it comes to banking, security is edging out other factors as the top reason for choosing a bank. A 2015 report from Telstra Global reveals the significant link between security and choice of institution. More than half of U.S. consumers cite the security of their personal information as the most important criteria when choosing a bank. In addition, two-thirds of U.S. consumers believe that biometric authentication is more secure than passwords.

Clearly, an emphasis on mobile authentication has the potential to attract and retain customers.

It’s time to take voice biometrics to the front lines.

Voice biometrics provides stronger protection than passwords, PIN numbers, and security questions. It also cuts the authentication time in half and increases customer satisfaction thanks to a more efficient process.

VoiceVault’s ViGo platform is a mobile voice biometric identity verification solution with a 99.99 percent verification success rate. Offer it to your customers as added security protection for mobile app login, transaction authorization, or as a convenient alternative to passwords. Just a few seconds of speech is all it takes to provide the robust security solution your customers are looking for.

It’s also incredibly easy to install, maintain and manage, with Amazon Web Services hosting included right out of the box. ViGo fits in easily with your existing Android and iOS apps—no IT department required.

To find out how easy it is to enhance your bank’s mobile-based authentication with ViGo, click here.


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Is Contact Center Fraud Hurting Your Organization?

Right now, contact center fraud is running rampant. According to one report, a contact center that receives 40 million calls per year typically incurs between $17 million and $27 million in fraudulent transactions annually—and experts expect these numbers to go up.

Why is contact center fraud such a problem? It’s because many contact centers are using ineffective knowledge-based verification systems to identify callers. With a knowledge-based verification system, all a fraudster has to do is present the right credentials and he or she can easily manipulate an agent into providing access to a private account.

Of course, fraud loss is an age-old problem for businesses. But now contact center fraud is being coupled with the growing cybersecurity epidemic. Criminals are now preying on vulnerable contact centers to phish for information that they can use to launch future attacks against mobile devices and online databases. This practice is called pre-fraud. On average, about five pre-fraud phone calls are made before a hacker attempts to complete an actual fraudulent transaction against a company.

So, how can you put your foot down against fraud?

You should consider outfitting your contact center with a cutting-edge voice biometric identity verification system.

Here’s how it works:

When using voice biometrics, a caller first sets up a unique voiceprint at the time of registration. Once that person’s unique voiceprint is created, the customer simply has to recite it into his or her microphone when logging into an account.

From the customer’s point of view, the process comes across as natural, non-invasive and simple. It doesn’t require manually typing in information or reciting sensitive data aloud (like name, address or Social Security number).

This process is also highly secure, as the voice biometric engine will scan customers’ voiceprints for a variety of determining factors like tone, pitch and even the amount of time between words.

Voice biometric identity verification can help your business eliminate millions of dollars in fraudulent transactions while also boosting customer satisfaction levels by making account access easier.

To learn more about how VoiceVault’s voice biometric identity solutions can help your contact center, click here.


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Developers: Have You Seen Our REST API Guide?

Calling all developers: Do you need to authenticate logins or protect in-app payments? Maybe your users need to track time and services rendered for offsite client visits, or verify their identities for accessing games or other services.

It doesn’t matter what your application does—it can become much safer with the simple—yet powerful—addition of voice biometric identity verification.

With the help of VoiceVault, it’s super easy to incorporate voice biometrics into your application, even with little to no prior experience. VoiceVault comes ready to use, meaning you won’t have to go through any configuration hassles. All you have to do is register, and we’ll provide you with full access to our turnkey solution.

But what if you want to go a step further, and develop custom phrases for enrollment and login? We’ve got you covered.

We also provide access to our ViGo Amazon Web Services environment and ViGo REST API—a REST-based XMI service for advanced developing. Using the REST API, you can incorporate your own audio recordings directly into your mobile application.

Our ViGo REST API guide will take you through everything you need to know about configuring and interacting with our API. You’ll learn how easy it is to interact with VoiceVault’s code.

So head over to VoiceVault’s support center, where you can find the ViGo REST API guide, as well as other great resources like our Library Developer Guide, starter tutorial, security framework and more. You’ll see how VoiceVault is committed to transparency and visibility.

Click here to get started!

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Use Voice Biometrics to Secure Your Enterprise Smartwatches

Smartwatches and smart glasses, among other wearable technologies, are quickly proliferating among consumers. By some estimates, they’re even outpacing the growth smartphones. With 81.7 million people expected to use wearables by 2018 and a predicted CAGR of 37 percent between 2015 and 2021, this is a market that’s just starting to heat up.

And it’s not all about fitness and fashion, either. Increasingly, wearable devices are being used to access business data, from sales figures to medical information to real estate transactions, and everything in between. The use cases may vary, but there’s virtually no industry that couldn’t benefit in some way from the use of wearable technology.

But here’s the problem: Your wearable-equipped employees are making all that business data vulnerable to cyberattacks.

As wearable technology makes its way into enterprises, IT leaders may soon be struggling to manage a widespread security issue. These devices have the same security vulnerabilities that plague mobile devices, which present hackers with open doors to sensitive data and little resistance to entry.  In fact, in a recent survey conducted at the RSA Conference, 69 percent of respondents who use wearables reported not using login credentials at all for their device, a fact that’s especially disturbing considering that 56 percent of those users also reported using their devices to access business applications.

Already a proven technology thanks to its prevalence in high profile industries like finance, government and healthcare, voice biometrics is a natural choice for securing wearable technology. Voice biometric identity verification is extremely accurate, and is very easy to use. It can also be combined with other authentication modalities to provide the highest level of security assurance needed.

To learn more about Voice Vault’s voice biometric security solutions, click here.

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Let’s Get the Facts Straight About Voice Biometrics

The more customers we speak with about voice biometric identity verification, the more we get the sense that the public has become increasingly comfortable with this exciting technology.

This is great to see, as just a few years ago when voice biometric identity verification was still in its nascent stage, it was being met with a surprising amount of confusion—and even fear—from consumers. Some, for instance, actually thought that biometrics in general could lead to physical harm!

Recent advances in the voice biometrics market, and the proliferation of this now popular technology, have greatly eased consumer concerns. Voice biometric identity verification is now very much in the public eye. And according to a 2015 report, global speech and voice biometrics revenue is expected to reach $5.1 billion by 2024 (it was valued at $249 million just last year!).

Still, myths abound about voice biometrics. Here are some of the most common ones that we receive:

Myth: It’s inconvenient for end users.

Truth: Compared to the number of passwords that most people are required to either write down or memorize, voice biometric identity verification is actually quite easy to use. After all, this solution doesn’t require any memorization. You just have to speak a short phrase into a microphone in order to gain access to the account. Plus, every mobile device comes with a built in microphone so it doesn’t require any extra hardware purchases. Voice biometrics can be easily downloaded and installed onto a device.

Myth: It’s not hack-proof.

Truth: While we can’t say that all types of biometrics offer a strong level of protection, voice biometrics do. That’s because a voice biometric engine will scan a voiceprint for a variety of identifying characteristics—and they all have to be a perfect match in order to grant entry. A voiceprint is much more comprehensive than a fingerprint.

Myth: It’s too expensive to actually obtain.

Truth: Voice biometrics are actually surprisingly affordable. It comes with a low cost of entry, there are no hidden fees, and you’ll ultimately save money by protecting against fraud. Check out VoiceVault’s tiered pricing model and see for yourself!

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Stadium Entry Can Be a Breeze Using Voice Biometric Identity Verification

Imagine you are about to authorize a $100 transaction over the phone for two tickets to an upcoming baseball game. Since this is your first time ordering tickets through this particular ticket vendor, you first provide your cardholder information. Then, you speak a short phrase into the phone when prompted and provide a unique voiceprint for identification purposes.

This is the cool part:

Assuming the stadium’s attendants have mobile devices that are equipped with the vendor’s voice biometric-enabled mobile application, you and anyone else who registered at the time of the transaction will be able to use that same voiceprint to enter into the stadium on game day—thus eliminating having to procure a physical ticket.

Sound farfetched? With voice biometrics increasingly being embraced by businesses as a trusted method of identity verification, voiceprints may soon be coming to a stadium near you.

Here’s why voice biometrics could be a great addition to any stadium:

Fans rightly expect to be seated before the first pitch, but fraudulent ticket scams, new technologies like mobile, paperless tickets and a recent move by some franchises to disallow printed tickets—most notably the New York Yankees— have made this more difficult as of late. What’s more, added security measures are now adding extra delays.

Already, fingerprint scans have been introduced in some sports venues, as an “extra check to prevent fraud.” Using fingerprints for identification purposes, however, has its drawbacks. The scanner surface, as well as all the fingers, must be kept relatively clean for the technology to work—not always a likely scenario on game day. (Not to mention the fact that placing thousands of fingers on a single scanner is simply unhygienic.) There’s also the matter of buying expensive computer hardware and software that will be easily taxed by the sheer number of people using it.

A stronger, more convenient option is voice biometrics. Voiceprints are reliable but complex, and therefore much more secure from a liability perspective. Tone, speed, and pitch are all used as identifying factors, and each point must be an exact match. Used as part of a multi-factor authentication system, voice biometrics offers a high degree of certainty.

There’s also no complex hardware involved—just a microphone. The simple nature of voice authentication virtually guarantees shorter lines and uncomplicated procedures.

To find out how your business can score big with voice biometric identity verification, click here.

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This Contact Center Security Solution Won’t Strain Your IT Staff

As the manager of a call center handling a large volume of calls daily, you know the incredible value of your IT staff.

You also know, perhaps firsthand, that fraud in call centers is quickly becoming a major issue. This year saw a dramatic rise in call center fraud attempts, jumping to 13 percent in 2015 from only 2 percent the year before. Data breaches regularly leave sensitive information up for grabs, allowing fraudsters to contact call centers pretending to be someone they’re not. In other cases, impersonators purposely mislead call center agents and manage to gain information and access despite a lack of identification.

Fortunately, call centers now have access to an invaluable security tool that enables agents to continue providing superior service without disturbing the customer experience: voice biometrics. One of the strongest ways to detect, deter, and eliminate fraud in your call center, voice biometrics is also easy to implement and easy to manage. This contact center security solution enables customers to authorize their identities over the phone by simply speaking a phrase into the receiver.

But how will implementing voice biometrics impact your already overworked IT department? After all, what you need is a strong contact center security solution—not a revolt in your data center.

Meet VoiceVault’s Fusion Enterprise, a highly flexible voice biometrics solution that’s perfect for call centers, and won’t overextend your IT staff. You’re free to choose where the components are located—either on the premises or, if you prefer, the product can be deployed using the cloud, with a configuration that is specific to your needs. A cloud hosting arrangement eases the burden on existing IT infrastructure and adds no additional headaches for your staff members.

With Fusion Enterprise, you’ll receive personalized technical support tailored to the specific needs of your business. It seamlessly integrates with your existing systems and also comes with ongoing maintenance and updates. Our architecture is specifically designed for scalability—to accommodate your growth needs—and reliability.

To learn more about how VoiceVault’s Fusion Enterprise can help secure your contact center, try our free demo.

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Avoid This Critical Digital Security Mistake in Your Enterprise

Think back to your first day at your current job, when you were given a computer and/or mobile device. Did you have to sign a safe usage or digital security policy? Did your IT department even make clear what is allowed on company-owned equipment? The answer is most likely no. You simply logged on and got to work without any briefing from your IT manager, who trusted that, as a professional, you would know how to conduct yourself online.

This sort of oversight—and it is an oversight—represents a common paradox occurring in many enterprises today in regard to cybersecurity policies. That is, IT managers assume that employees are engaging in safe usage policies online, and workers think IT is working overtime to keep their devices protected. Research, for instance, shows that 87 percent of workers believe that it’s the IT department’s job to keep them protected.

As a result of this disconnect, many enterprises are much less safe than workers or IT managers may think.

It’s time, therefore, to take initiative and clamp down on security gaps in your enterprise. A great place to start is by making sure that your business has a robust mobile identity verification strategy in place. Establish a policy that employees must use strong authentication to protect their mobile devices by using the built-in security features like passwords and PINs or, if available, voice biometrics.

Then, go a step further and integrate a voice biometrics engine directly into the framework of your business’s mobile application. This way, all corporate assets stored or accessed on employee mobile devices will be protected by unique end-user voiceprints.

VoiceVault can work with your team of developers to help you build a secure voice biometrics solution. Click here for more information.

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What’s The Difference Between Voice and Speech Recognition?

We love Siri. It helps our Apple users navigate seamlessly through their iPhones and iPads. And we love the role that it has played in helping a large volume of mobile users get comfortable with using their voices to complete tasks.

With this in mind, however, we need to make an important clarification for our customers: Siri is a fundamentally different technology from what we offer here at VoiceVault.

Siri, in other words, is based on what is referred to as speech recognition software, meaning that the technology will respond to any end user’s voice regardless of whether or not he or she is an authorized user. A coworker, for instance, could easily use your phone’s Siri feature to complete a task. Siri and other types of speech recognition, like Cortana for Windows, are primarily used for navigation purposes.

What VoiceVault offers through the mobile ViGo solution is called voice recognition software. Conversely, voice recognition software offers simple—yet highly-effective—security for protecting end user accounts. The difference between Voice and Speech Recognition is that Voice recognition software uses voice biometric identity verification technology to correlate directly with end users’ unique voiceprints. Going back to our coworker example, if that person were to attempt to gain access into an application protected with voice recognition software he or she would be unable to enter unless first added as an authorized user.

So as you can see, both speech recognition software and voice biometric identity verification are playing vital roles in shaping how end users are interacting with mobile devices today. It’s important to remember, however, that both provide very different services.

Click here to learn more about VoiceVault’s leading voice biometric identity verification software.

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