As we begin 2018, it’s a good time to stop and reflect on all that’s happened over the last 12 months in the biometrics space. It’s been an exciting year, and one that has been full of exciting industry advancements.
Here are a few of our favorite headlines from 2017:
Wells Fargo CEO endorses voice biometrics: The year started off on a high note, when Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan endorsed voice biometrics while giving a presentation at the FinTech Ideas Festival. Voice biometrics was ranked as third on Sloan’s list of disruptive technologies that will change banking. It was great to see biometrics recognized as a top technology by a major global bank.
Major Bank Adopts Voice Biometrics: The financial industry again made headlines in April, when Australia’s ANZ bank announced plans to offer customers voice biometric identity verification to protect high-value transactions exceeding $1,000. Now, customers can use their voiceprint for authentication purposes. We expect more banks to follow suit in 2018.
VoiceVault releases Fusion 9: In June, VoiceVault released the latest version of Fusion 9, our leading voice biometric engine. This is the most secure and flexible voice biometrics solution that we have released yet. Fusion 9 allows customers to select from hybrid, cloud and on-device-based deployment solutions.
This New Year, take some time to think about your security strategy for 2018. To learn more about how voice biometrics can help, click here. You can also sign up for a free developer trial by clicking here.
Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax announced a data breach this week that could impact upwards of 143 million customers.
Sources indicate that the breach was actually discovered on July 29, when Equifax realized that hackers had gained access to their system. The company believes that hackers were inside of its network from May until July.
Equifax is now working with local and federal law enforcement agencies to rectify the situation, and is in the process of notifying affected customers about the breach. The company is sending out notifications via mail.
The bad news here is that the list of stolen information was very extensive. Hackers were able to access customer names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses and even driver’s license numbers.
What’s more, as many as 209,000 Equifax customers had their credit card information stolen. And 182,000 more customers had data lifted from dispute documents.
This is no breach to take lightly, as 143 million customers amounts to roughly 45 percent of the U.S. population. This means a large portion of your own customers were probably affected. This information could easily be used by criminals to assume your own customers’ identities and conduct fraudulent transactions against your organization.
One way to protect your business from fraud following this massive data breach is to offer enhanced safeguards for account logins and transactions. Voice biometric identity verification, for instance, could be used to securely authenticate customers over the phone or a mobile device. Customers would simply have to recite a short phrase to be granted access into their accounts.
Voice biometrics could be used alongside additional biometric security technologies like facial scanners or fingerprint readers, as well as traditional solutions like security questions, passwords and personal identification numbers.
So the big takeaway here is that the market was just flooded with a trove of sensitive consumer data. It’s time to take action to protect your private accounts.
To learn more about how VoiceVault can help, click here.
The recent explosion in cybercrime has forced business leaders across all vertical markets to seek stronger methods of identity verification during transactions.
One technology that is receiving a great deal of attention right now is biometric identity verification. According to a new study from Juniper Research, the total number of mobile payments authenticated by biometrics will increase to 2 billion in 2017. This is a massive biometric payment adoption increase from the 600 million payments that were authenticated with biometrics last year.
What’s more, the mobile biometrics market will continue growing at a compound annual growth rate of 29.3 percent through 2022, which is further evidence of its rising popularity. So if you are just now considering biometrics, rest assured — your company will not be the only one using it.
Why is biometric authentication suddenly so popular? Once seen as a new and unproven technology, biometric identity verification has become much more commonplace. This is due to the proliferation of technologies like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. This year, 60 percent of all smartphone models will ship with embedded fingerprint sensors.
So, are you considering moving forward and adopting biometric payment authentication? If so, it’s important not to rush into an installation. There are several foundational elements that need to be in place in order to have a successful authentication system — like user experience (UX), interoperability, security, modality performance and privacy. These points make up the Five Factor Framework, a system developed by Oxford University and Mastercard for financial service providers. These points can be universally applied to any industry.
VoiceVault has a tremendous resource section, offering developers guidance and support for voice biometric identity verification.
Rest assured, your employees are using smartphones and tablets at work whether you have a “bring your own device” policy or not. Mobile devices are the fastest and most convenient way to chat, search for information and communicate with team members.
Unfortunately, they can also be considered a top enterprise security threat based on the findings from a study conducted by Dimensional Research.
Of the 412 enterprise security leaders that were questioned in the survey, 64 percent don’t believe that their organization has the security software to stop a cyberattack on their mobile devices.
Here are some other terrifying statistics from the study:
20 percent of companies have been victims of a cyberattack through their mobile devices, while 24 percent have no idea if they have been compromised.
94 percent of security professionals claimed they expect a cyberattack on their mobile devices within the next 12 months.
97 percent believe that cyberattacks through mobile devices are increasing.
Unfortunately, there is a big disconnect occurring here.
Respondents appear to be well-aware that their companies aren’t taking mobile security seriously enough, with over half indicating that their company hadn’t used a mobile security solution. And yet, little is being done to change this.
One reason for this is a lack of resources. 53 percent of respondents claimed they could not afford strong security solutions. Other organizations may have a lack of executive awareness or support, an unwillingness to change or concerns about implementing a mobile security policy that would restrict and alienate workers.
Voice biometric identity verification is one cost-effective, and easy technologies that can help enterprises improve mobile security.
“Voice is a unique biometric,” explained VoiceVault EVP of Sales and Marketing Julia Webb during a recent Biometric Authentication podcast. “Unlike other biometric voice can be used anywhere there is a microphone, which makes it inexpensive to deploy. And it can be just as accurate as other biometric technologies such as EyeVerify, which was recently acquired by Alibaba, or even [Apple’s} Touch ID. And all we need is a small amount of speech in order to authenticate an individual.”
Want to learn more about mobile voice biometric identity verification? Try our free developer trial today!
You may have read the news that the BBC have successfully caused HSBC’s Voice ID system, provided by another voice biometric vendor, to falsely accept the non-identical twin of an enrolled user. This occurred after the ninth attempt that the twin took to access the user’s bank account. Thus, causing the issue to be that of failing to follow best practices rather than a failing biometric element. Since all biometrics are statistical in nature, measures must be taken to ensure that the likelihood of a false accept is as low as possible. Current best practices can include account or device lock-out after multiple failures, which would have prevented the BBC’s false accept.
To further help financial organizations protect and prevent against this recent type of breach, VoiceVault is excited to share with you the upcoming release of VoiceVault Fusion 9. Version 9 of our core, proprietary, engine includes additional controls, new biometric modes, seamless integration with other authentication factors, and detailed reporting with location services. Official announcement and details forthcoming in the very near future.
In addition to staying on the forefront of voice biometric technology, we pride ourselves in working collaboratively with our clients and partners to suit each individual use case. With over 10 years of experience in the market, our team is more than happy to talk through the end-to-end statistics and recommend an array of additional methods of best practice, including the implementation of multifactor authentication.
As mentioned by a spokesperson from HSBC, since launching last year, HSBC’s Voice ID system has been successful in reducing fraud. Therefore, voice biometrics are still more secure than historic knowledge-based-authentication systems, such as passwords and PINs.
Consumer interest in biometric banking is very strong in the UK right now. According to one recent study, 56 percent of UK customers actually prefer biometrics to traditional authentication solutions like passwords — even though there is still some general confusion among customers about how biometrics work.
Another study found that British consumers are almost twice as likely to trust banks over government agencies with storing and keeping biometric data safe.
There’s just one problem:
In order for customers to move beyond passwords and use biometric technologies, banks need to provide access to them. And there are still some mixed feelings in the financial community about the role that biometrics should play in authenticating logins and transactions. Many people still believe that passwords are better for protecting consumer accounts.
Passwords vs. biometrics: The debate is on
Consumer demand has forced the conversation to move forward. Recently, the Digital Banking Club (founded by Intelligent Environments, the digital financial services providers) gathered at the Law Society, London to address the motion “This house believes the password will never be replaced by your body.”
The debate was chaired by Retail Banker International Editor and Digital Banking Club Chair, Douglas Blakey. Guest panelists from Forrester, Fujitsu and Intelligent Environments spoke for the motion, while representatives from Secco, DWC and MasterCard spoke against it.
Before the debate, 42 percent of people agreed that the password will never be replaced by the body. But after the debate, just 19 percent agreed with the motion.
Opinions about biometrics varied from expert to expert. For example, some panelists voiced concern over false acceptances (FA) and false rejects (FR) in biometric systems. There is a small risk, in other words, that a biometric solution could malfunction and grant access to an imposter or reject the right user. This problem, however, can be addressed by embedding multifactor security layers. If one layer is breached, a hacker will still have to enter further credentials.
What’s more, some technologies — like VoiceVault’s voice biometric identity verification — come with very low FA and FR rates. VoiceVault guarantees a FA rate of just 0.01 percent, and a FR rate of less than 5 percent. Not all biometric technologies will offer the same level of protection.
We can also argue that false acceptances and rejects happen all the time with passwords when accounts get hacked, or locked.
Will we ever see beyond passwords?
It largely depends on who you ask. Some of the panel at the Digital Banking Club debate, believe that while biometrics will be popular, passwords will never be completely replaced. However, other panelists argued biometrics will eventually replace passwords, but in time.
One panelist likened favoring passwords over biometrics to favoring a horse and cart over a car. The technology is outdated, inefficient and insecure. The same panelist mentioned a study from the Netherlands, conducted by Mastercard, where nine out of 10 participants indicated they would like to replace their passwords with biometrics. And almost 75 percent of users are convinced that biometric security will decrease fraud.
What was interesting is that every single panel member used their iPhone fingerprint scanners to access their debate notes on the podium…
So, should your bank abandon passwords right now?
For now, you don’t have to worry about replacing passwords altogether. But you can look beyond passwords and start phasing them out with biometrics, which can coexist nicely with passwords.
Your best bet is to give customers a variety of different security options, and let them choose the ones they are most comfortable with. If you try to force any technologies on them, you are liable to experience negative blowback.
Interest in mobile banking may be strong among consumers today, but user adoption continues to lag behind. According to one study, a third of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. claim they avoid mobile banking applications. About one third say will never use them. And almost three quarters of people in who agree blame security.
In light of this, many banks are reassessing their mobile security strategies as they attempt to make them more attractive for customers. We are seeing an increasing number of banks offering multifactor security options that integrate traditional password and answer-based authentication technologies with cutting-edge biometrics like voice, fingerprint and iris scanners.
Just recently, for instance, Australia’s ANZ bank announced it will begin offering customers voice biometric security to protect high-value mobile transactions of $1,000 or more. Previously, customers had to make these transactions in person.
“A person’s voice has five to ten times as many security points than other methods such as fingerprints so we know this will improve security and be welcomed by our customers,” stated ANZ Managing Director Customer Experience and Digital Channels Peter Dalton.
Dalton is referring to the fact that voice biometric engines can register points like the average pitch, speed and tone of a user’s voice. All of them must match in order to approve authentication, which makes it one of the most complex secure options out of all the biometric solutions on the market.
For years, VoiceVault’s mobile voice biometrics solution, ViGo, has been protecting high value mobile transfers for a major global bank as well as in many other financial institutions. VoiceVault has protected billions of dollars in transfers.
To learn more about how VoiceVault can protect your organization, click here.
Latin America is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the world. By 2018, 139.3 million people in the region are expected to buy goods online, which is an increase from the 84.7 million people who did so in 2013.
As such, regional mobile network operators are looking to ride this momentum, and accelerate the digitalization of the region’s economy. And for help, they are turning to companies like mobile authentication solutions provider Safran Identity & Security, a company offering the GSMA Mobile Connect platform for convenient and secure SIM-based mobile authentication.
“Digital life calls for digital identities,” stated Rafael Canon, a telecom marketing manager for LATAM at Safran Identity & Security. “Security and convenience in handling these is the basis for digital growth – here mobile network operators have the opportunity to build acceptance and growth of digital transactions by offering new ways for secure and convenient authentication.”
Now, here’s what we are most excited about:
Soon, Safran Identity & Security will enhance GSMA Mobile Connect with a biometric solution which should make authentication even more secure and convenient.
This is fantastic news, as it means that biometric authentication is going to start spreading rapidly through LATAM.
It’s our belief that voice biometric identity verification can play a big part in growing LATAM’s digital economy, and so we hope to see a voice biometric component added to GSMA Mobile Connect in the future.
Voice, when offered in multimodal fashion next to fingerprint, iris and facial scanning technologies, offers customers an easy way to authenticate themselves using just a voiceprint. Of all the leading biometric technologies on the market, voice biometrics is one of the most preferred among consumers.
Are you new to voice biometrics? Try the technology for yourself! To try our free demo, click here.
Voice biometric identity verification is relatively new on the mainstream stage. So, we still have quite a bit of work to do in correcting misconceptions that are floating around about the technology.
Just recently, for instance, we were notified about a report from an anti-fraud firm claiming that error rates on voice biometrics could double over the next two years. According to the report, this is because human voiceprints change subtly in pitch and speed over the course of several months or years.
“Too many companies will just deploy voice biometrics, and that’s a mistake,” the report stated. “There’s a real need for multifactor authentication, with voice biometrics just being a piece of the puzzle.”
For this reason, the report explains, companies should use multifactor authentication in conjunction with voice biometric identity verification.
So, is there any truth to this? Here’s our take on the matter:
VoiceVault strongly supports multifactor authentication, but not for the reason mentioned in the report.
It’s true, voiceprints do change subtly over time. However, VoiceVault’s voice biometric platform was designed to constantly adjust to an end user’s voiceprint. Our voice biometric engine is always learning, and is therefore less susceptible to errors.
What’s more, voice readings are easily replaceable. If some sort of major incident happens that impacts an end user’s voice, like accident or injury, that person could simply re-enroll without a hassle.
As for multifactor authentication, we recommend it more for reasons related to security and convenience. Voice biometric authentication, for instance, is not optimal for every type of environment — like a crowded or noisy room. In this type of environment, users may have an easier time using a fingerprint scanner or even a traditional password. So it’s nice to offer end users a variety of login options.
What’s more, multifactor is a great way to enhance security. It’s possible to set up an account so that an end user has to use two or more authentication solutions before being granted access into a private account.
To learn more about the VoiceVault approach to biometrics, click here.
Migrating to a voice biometric identity verification platform may seem like an intimidating process to businesses in the financial services industry. Questions abound: Will customers like it? Are other banks doing it? How do other executives feel about this type of authentication technology?
Here’s something that may sway your opinion: At the recent FinTech Ideas Festival, Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan endorsed voice biometrics during a presentation on five ways technology will change banking. Voice biometric identity verification was listed as point no. 3 on his list (which also included APIs, artificial intelligence, digital wallets and the cloud).
Sloan stated that it’s time to “move away from passwords so that the body becomes your password.” He also explained how a voiceprint is more secure than plain text authentication because it cannot be stolen like a password can and praised how the technology enables remote banking.
Such an endorsement is fantastic news for the voice biometrics industry, as it proves that financial executives are feeling good about the technology. We expect 2017 to be a massive year for voice biometrics, as more and more financial institutions adopt it for use in mobile applications, online banking portals and contact centers. We can’t wait to see how much the technology grows by the time Money 20/20 2017 rolls around in October!
So why not heed Sloan’s advice? Try voice biometrics for yourself and see what all the fuss is about. VoiceVault offers free 45-day trials, so you can see if the technology is a solid fit for your organization before you make a purchase.