Report Names Voice Biometrics Top Security Modality

If you’re wondering how voice biometric identity verification stacks up against other leading mobile security solutions, look no further than a new report from Research and Markets which shows that voice biometrics has been recognized as one of the top authentication services available.

In the report, voice biometrics was named, along with facial recognition software, as a top security modality. This was due in large part to the noninvasive characteristic of both the technologies.

Why is voice considered to be noninvasive? When using voice, end users are not asked to submit any sensitive information that can be stolen and used against them. Fingerprints, passwords and security questions, on the other hand, could all easily be compromised by thieves. Having to speak a security credential like a Social Security number in public to obtain access to account information, for example, is very risky; as well, entering this information via key pad is not conducive for a mobile user who is on the go. Using voice biometrics, end users can recite a simple phrase that would mean nothing to someone who could be eavesdropping.

For these reasons, voice biometrics is helping protect a number of targeted industries, such as healthcare, banking, border control and security, where sensitive information goes for a premium rate on the black market. As these markets continue to become increasingly mobilized, voice biometrics will play a key role in helping the organizations within them prevent fraud and abuse.

Here at VoiceVault we are pleased to see voice biometrics given the handle it deserves  as a top security modality. Click here to learn more about how VoiceVault can help your company with its authentication needs.


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As Target Proves, a Data Breach Can Take Years To Fix

It’s been more than 15 months since a massive data breach was discovered at Target, and the company is still cleaning up the mess.

The 2013 incident resulted in the theft of more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers, as well as the personal information of over 70 million customers. Further, banks and credit unions spent an estimated $200 million reissuing cards to customers, Target’s approach to IT and security were lambasted and the company’s profits plummeted by more than 46 percent immediately following the breach.

The problem, however, is still making headlines today.

According to a recently-agreed upon class action settlement offer, Target has offered to pay $10 million to customers whose data was stolen in the breach.  And while Target says breach-related expenses cost the company $162 million in 2014, sales have continued to slump since it occurred; and it’s unclear when—or even if—the American public will forgive the retailer.

This should be an important lesson for your business in that it makes much more sense to focus on securing your company’s digital assets than it does trying to recover from a data breach—a process that can take several years to truly fix. If it’s taken Target this long to recover, it could take smaller businesses even longer.

If you’re looking for one specific area where you can improve your business’s digital security, start with mobile identity verification. By securing your company’s digital endpoints with voice biometrics, you can greatly reduce the risk of sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands from malware, theft or any other number of security issues.

Click here to learn more about how VoiceVault, a leading mobile identity verification provider in the voice biometrics space, can help protect your business.


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What’s the Lowdown on HIPAA Phase 2 (II)?

Right now the healthcare industry is anxiously awaiting the onset of impending HIPAA Phase 2 (II) audits. Originally slated to begin last summer, the audits were delayed indefinitely due to technical issues surrounding HIPPA’s customer portal.

At this point, the program is still considered to be in development. On March 16, however, during an address at the 23rd annual HIPAA Summit, the director of the Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, Jocelyn Samuels, provided an update about the organization’s progress.

“I can promise you two things,” Samuels said. “The first is, it’s coming; I can’t promise you the specific date, but it’s happening. The second is that we are committed to transparency.”

While these remarks will strike a chord with healthcare providers, business leaders across other industries should take note as well. Details surrounding HIPAA Phase II audits are still nebulous at best, but there is widespread speculation that the new audits will more aggressively target business associates of healthcare providers, that is, companies that transmit or store protected health information (PHI), e.g., those involved in billing, legal and data management processes. These business associates are expected to be held to the same HIPAA compliance standards as healthcare providers, especially regarding PHI data security and privacy issues.

In assessing ways to streamline your facility for data compliance, consider the benefits of voice biometric identity verification. Using a voice biometrics solution, your company can replace paper-based authentication systems with secure voice prints to validate workers handling sensitive information and accessing data. Voice biometrics can work in conjunction with smartphone-based EMR applications, tablets and even OASIS medical charts.

The fact is that HIPAA Phase II can begin at any time. Consequently, make sure your business is capable of passing an audit with flying colors. More information about how voice biometrics is helping healthcare providers stay in compliance can be found here.

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US Named Top Developer of Risky Apps

America has a growing problem related to application security, as evidenced by a new report from Marble Labs.

According to the report, the U.S. was named the top developer of risky apps. In fact, 42 percent of applications deemed to be dangerous stemmed from publishers and developers located on American soil.

Why is application security such a big problem? It can be attributed to a lack of quality control in application hubs like the App Store and Google Play. Many companies that sell applications in these digital storefronts store sensitive information on unsecure third-party servers, which often leave the door wide open for unauthorized third parties to hack in and steal consumer information. While Apple and Google maintain that they regularly scan for security purposes, the fact is that both companies contain applications with malware.

“This [data] came as a surprise to Marble’s analysts, who before examining the data would have bet that most malicious apps originated from publishers in Eastern Europe or Asia,” a spokesperson explained. “While China, Korea, India and Taiwan generate a great number of malicious and risky apps, their combined total doesn’t amount to that of the United States.”

Though troubling, the report could actually be beneficial if it drives development of stronger application security standards in America. Right now, the U.S. has no overarching security mandates apart from those enforced by industry watchdogs like the FIDO alliance. The fact is that there needs to be a stronger method of ensuring that U.S. applications and software solutions are safe for use before they are made available for sale on the open market.

Mobile identity verification provider VoiceVault is a member of the FIDO alliance. You can learn more by clicking here.

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Voice Biometrics Market Increasing in Diversity

Companies and Markets recently painted an exciting picture for the future of the global voice biometrics market in a new report titled “Global Voice Recognition Market: New Insight.” According to the study, the voice recognition market will experience 9.4 percent growth between 2014 and 2019.

Furthermore, the market is expected to significantly diversify during this time period, as the technology becomes adopted by a greater number of industries. As the report explains, this will happen as the accuracy of the software continues to develop (more on this below).

One of the markets that will experience a greater adoption of voice recognition services over the next few years is the financial services industry—specifically, mobile banking. Online banking services are growing concerned with providing safe end-user authentication options for customers, and will undoubtedly look to voice biometrics as an affordable and user-friendly solution. After all, companies can simply build a voice biometrics engine directly into the framework of their applications and distribute them to customers over the cloud.

The healthcare industry was also mentioned in the report as another market that will see an increased adoption of voice biometric technology. Voice biometrics streamlines faster and more accurate recordings during patient interactions, as it allows workers to collect data without having to write it down. This eliminates potentially costly errors during the transcription process. It also helps prevent the growing problem of patient fraud in home healthcare, as well.

As for the lack of accuracy mentioned in the report, it should be noted that VoiceVault is one voice biometric identity verification provider that is already tackling this issue head-on. VoiceVault is built with multiple configurations for accuracy, and thus supports an industry-leading false acceptance rate of 0.01 percent, as well as a false reject rate of about 5 percent.

You can learn more about how VoiceVault ensures such high levels of accuracy by clicking here.

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Majority Of Employees Lack Mobile Security Training

Your business is ahead of the curve in regard to the adoption of enterprise mobility. Employees regularly use mobile devices in your company to log into email, share multimedia files and exchange text, audio and video communication while they are on-the-go. This in turn is creating a more flexible work environment, and thus happier and more productive employees.

But is your company’s mobile policy safe? It may not be.

In a recent study, 88 percent of respondents indicated that they regularly access confidential data over mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Yet only 20 percent of respondents claim to have been offered official mobile security training as to how to access and handle mobile content.

Even more alarming, of the 20 percent that did receive training, 74 percent indicated that it was not effective in reducing the risks they face when accessing content over mobile devices.

So, what are the biggest risks facing mobile users? First, there is the issue of malware. Applications often contain hidden malware that can be used to steal sensitive information, or infect a larger amount of end users. Even more frightening, some new devices have been even discovered to come with pre-installed malware.

Other problematic issues include downloading and using applications that are not approved for use in the enterprise, as well as device theft. For instance, about one in every 10 Americans falls victim to smartphone theft.

What’s the best way to protect your corporation from the dangers of mobility? Even more important than training, you need to invest in mobile identity verification technology that can help keep hackers and unwanted parties out of your databases. By implementing a multifactor authentication policy built around voice biometrics, you can fully embrace mobility while safeguarding against threats like hacks and malware, as well as device and identity theft.

Click here to learn more about the services of VoiceVault, a leading mobile identity management provider.

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Hacker Steals Fingerprint From Photograph

A hacker recently claimed to have successfully replicated the fingerprint of German Defense Minster Ursula von der Leyen. Here’s the scary part: It came from a photograph. And it was done using basic commercial software.

According to the hacker, Germany’s Jan Krissler (also known as “Starbug”), the information could be used to hack into a device that used biometric security fingerprint sensors.

In response to this incident, many concerned citizens have asked how easy it would be to forge someone’s fingerprint using this type of technology. The answer is that it is difficult, but not impossible.

So, how can you prevent this type of invasive trickery from happening to you? Krissler snidely suggested that politicians wear gloves in public. Instead, a more reasonable proposal is to use voice biometric identity verification. This technology can easily—and securely—protect your unique characteristics from criminals. The fact of the matter is that individuals should not have to live in fear of their very identities being duplicated for criminal purposes.

By protecting your mobile devices and private accounts with voice biometrics, you can rest assured that no hacker will be able to forge your identity and gain access to your personal information. In fact, voice biometrics is so secure that even if someone had an exact recording of your voice, they would not be able to use it to steal your identity.

Voice recognition software is specifically designed to pick up on different aspects of a person’s voice to mitigate fraud. It will asses your tone, pitch, background and other unique characteristics during the authentication process. Unless an exact match in an end user’s voice print is detected, access will be denied.

Click here to learn more about how you can keep your identity safe with voice biometrics.


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Mobile Payments: The Biggest Driver of Identity Management

According to FindBiometrics’ 12th annual Year in Review survey, mobile payments was the hottest space in identity management for 2014—by a landslide.

So why is identity verification for mobile payments in such high demand? A big reason can be attributed to the pace at which mobile payment usage is increasing. Research shows that mobile transactions almost doubled last year, accounting for 17 percent of total purchases made in North America. Furthermore, the total number of people who utilize mobile payments is expected to increase from 235 million users in 2013 to 450 million users in 2017, which demonstrates noteworthy growth.

Standing in the way of even greater adoption, however, are security concerns. Many retailers and consumers recognize the inherent danger of storing and transferring financial information over the Web, and are therefore reserved about wiring funds through third party providers. According to Kaspersky Labs, for instance, about 60 percent of the malware targeted towards Android devices between August, 2013 and July, 2014 was aimed primarily at stealing banking details or money.

In order to bolster mobile payment security and ease concerns for retailers and consumers, many mobile payment companies are looking to biometrics as a viable solution. PayPal, for example, recently announced it will allow users to authenticate themselves using the Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint sensor. Apple has been doing this since 2013 with its iPhone fingerprint scanner, too. But many retailers are still failing to recognize the fact that not all biometrics solutions are capable of delivering the same level of advanced authentication. Fingerprint sensors, for instance, have proven to be hackable.

Voice biometrics, by comparison, offer much greater protection against unauthorized users or malware since voiceprints are much more difficult to steal. Retailers interested in utilizing the services of a voice-based mobile identity management system are highly encouraged to look into this advanced user authentication method in favor of other types of biometric solutions.

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Cyberattacks Don’t Always Originate Outside of the Enterprise

Like most business leaders, you are taking active measures to protect your organization from the increasing threat of hackers. But as you work to protect your digital assets, it’s important to realize that cyberattacks could come from within your organization just as easily as they could come from without.

As a new report from the FBI indicates, employees are increasingly using the Web to hack into their current and former companies in search of trade secrets and other types of valuable information. This data is then, typically, either sold for profit or used to gain a competitive advantage in a new corporation.

The risk that these invasive tactics present to businesses is twofold. First and foremost, financial repercussions arise from internal data theft. On average, internal hacking can cost companies anywhere between $5,000 and $3 million per incident, according to the FBI. This figure depends on the value of the stolen data, legal fees, lost revenue and the purchase of credit monitoring services for affected customers and employees, as well as other IT services that must be deployed to rectify the situation. Furthermore, businesses’ reputations are on the line, too. Once a business is hit with a data breach, it will carry a stigma with it—and this could result in the loss of present and potential customers.

How do you prevent such an attack from occurring? The FBI recommends that you conduct a regular review of employee access, and terminate any account that employees do not need to perform daily responsibilities. By clamping down on who is able to access your critical information, you will be better able to safeguard your data. It is especially critical to terminate accounts after employees or contractors leave or are dismissed. Other tips offered by the FBI include avoiding shared usernames and passwords for remote desktops, and restricting Web access for corporate PCs to cloud storage websites.


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Mobile Theft Is on the Rise. Is Your Company Prepared?

Stop and think about what your IT department would do if a mobile device containing sensitive insider information was lost or stolen. Chances are your business could be in serious danger of experiencing a data breach for the following reasons:

  • A lack of reporting: Not every employee will report a lost or stolen device. Despite the fact that these devices often contain restricted data, many employees fail to see the importance of alerting IT personnel when a device goes missing. There is still a big disconnect when it comes to employees and IT departments communicating over BYOD policies.
  • A lack of control: Without a way of controlling data from a central location, there is no way of restricting access to it. So an IT department would be all but powerless to prevent an unauthorized end user from hacking in and stealing the data, or continuing to use the device to hack deeper into the network. Remember that mobile devices contain loads of email and personal addresses, phone numbers and passwords.

Recent research from Kaspersky Lab shows that mobile theft is on the rise, too. In fact, 25 percent of companies have experienced the theft of a mobile device in 2014. This is an 11 percent increase from 2011. And 19 percent of those who were surveyed indicated that the mobile device robbery resulted in the loss of business-related information.

If your business allows employees to obtain corporate data from personal devices, or if it is planning to in the future, make sure you have a mobile identity verification solution for preventing a data breach—and one for stopping the spread of damage should one occur.

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