Debunking The Myth That Voice Recognition Systems Can Be Easily Spoofed

There is growing concern among security experts that voice biometric identity verification can be spoofed and is not secure enough to protect businesses and consumers from sophisticated hackers.

A group of researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, for instance, recently made the claim that voice recognition systems can be easily spoofed due to a lack of robust security features. According to the University of Eastern Finland, voice recognition systems “generally aren’t efficient yet in recognizing voice modifications.”

This may be true for some commercial voice biometric identity verification solutions, but not VoiceVault.

VoiceVault’s  voice biometric engine, used to power all of our solutions, contains embedded fraud detection capabilities. The software was specially designed to ensure detect and prevent fraudulent voice samples from incorrectly granting access to a device or application.

For example, each of our offerings contain advanced replay and synthetic speech detection capabilities to detect audio that has been fraudulently obtained. Audio that has been modified; spliced together from more than one voice sample; and generated from speech synthesis can also be detected.

Just how effective is VoiceVault’s voice biometrics engine in preventing fraudulent authentications? In a benchmark test of 10 million calls, VoiceVault was able to verify 99.98 percent of fraudulent attempts.

What’s more, VoiceVault recommends that voice biometric identity verification solution should be used as part of a larger multifactor authentication strategy. Voice e biometrics, in other words, can be used alongside technologies like fingerprint, iris and face scanners as well as traditional authentication methods like passwords, security questions and personal identification numbers (PINS). The belief is that the more authentication options that you provide for users, the harder it will be to hack an account.

To learn more about VoiceVault, click here. You can also try a free developer trial by clicking here.

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Know the Difference: Cloud Vs Localized Biometrics

When selecting a mobile biometric identity verification solution, you will have to make a decision about whether you want to move forward with a localized or cloud-based model.

What’s the better option?

In a localized biometrics setup, the biometric engine is stored in the hardware of the actual device itself. Some companies use localized biometrics if they are skeptical about trusting biometric data in the cloud. It’s also slightly faster, but only in nanoseconds.

There are, however, several disadvantages to using a purely localized biometrics solution. For instance, it’s not possible to create a single cross-channel identity using a localized solution. Plus, there is no easy way to back up biometric data in a localized setup. And there is limited capacity to integrate machine learning.

In a purely cloud-based model, biometric data is stored on a private server instead of on a device. The cloud also makes it possible to set up a universal interface. And it’s easy to integrate machine learning into the biometric system, too. So with the cloud, biometrics can be much more flexible and user-friendly. What’s more, it’s much easier to perform updates on cloud-based models.

VoiceVault can actually give you the best of both worlds, with its hybrid model voice biometric identity verification solution. Using the hybrid model, a user can unlock his or her device without having any connectivity — like if they are in a tunnel. The voiceprint sample will be matched on device, then as soon as connectivity is established, it can be used for cloud-based authentication.

To learn more about VoiceVault’s unique approach to biometrics, click here or contact us. For an additional perspective on the differences, you may also consider reading the recent white paper from Acuity Market Intelligence.

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How Voice Biometrics Can Boost the Mobile Wallet Revolution

We are now witnessing a major transformation in global currency, as consumers are slowly warming up to the idea of using a mobile wallet.

In a recent study of consumers in the U.S., Canada and the U.K, more than half indicated they expect to adopt digital payment systems over the next few years. And many countries, like Denmark, Norway and Sweden, are already well on their way to becoming completely cashless.

Still, though, there are major barriers that are holding back the mobile wallet revolution and causing consumers to stick with their existing payment preferences.

Concerns about fraud, for instance, are very high among consumers. In another study, 19 percent of consumers indicated they are concerned that unauthorized transactions may occur after using a mobile phone for payment. And 21 percent prefer not to register payment credentials to their mobile phone.

In light of this, business leaders are highly encouraged to bring an authentication mindset to the upcoming Money20/20 conference.

Many companies at this conference will be offering cutting-edge technologies that can boost digital payment security and win over customers who may be skeptical about change. VoiceVault, for instance, will be on hand at Money20/20 (booth #737) to showcase its industry-leading voice biometric identity verification technology.

Voice biometric identity verification offers two major features that consumers want to see in their mobile payment systems: Security, and convenience.

Voice biometrics are one of the most secure forms of biometric authentication, as they cannot easily be spoofed. A voiceprint has many unique identifying characteristics, and all of them must be a perfect match in order to grant an end user access into his or her account.

What’s more, the process only takes a few seconds and does not require the user to remember a password, personal identification number (PIN) or answers to security questions. All you need is your voice, and a device with a microphone. Using voice biometrics, authenticating a payment is every bit as easy as signing your name on a receipt.

To learn more about voice biometric identity verification, click here or visit our Booth # 737 at Money20/20.

Money2020 2017

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Use Voice Biometrics to Combat Synthetic Identity Fraud

Use Voice Biometrics to Combat Synthetic Identity Fraud

Security experts are now warning about a new problem that is proliferating in the wake of the recent Equifax data breach: Synthetic identity fraud.

In short, fraudsters are now taking pieces of information from different identity theft victims and piecing them together to create brand new identities. Think of it like a “Franken-identity,” which may use the Social Security number of one person, the name of another and an address from a third individual. Together, these credentials can be used to create something that had not previously existed.

These new identities, which are often referred to by the slang name “fullz,” are being bought and sold on the black market at a frightening pace. According to Biometric Update, there has been a 112-percent YoY increase in synthetic identity fraud. It’s currently the fastest-growing form of identity theft, and we expect it to continue well into the future now that there is an abundance of consumer data floating around the dark Web.

For this reason, security experts are now advising companies to look deeper into customers’ credentials when approving and enrolling them in services. A person may look official over the phone or on paper, but on the end it could very well be a hacker using the bits and pieces of many different identities to spoof the system.

Voice biometric identity verification can be used to further protect customers after they are enrolled, as it’s the most secure form of all the biometric technologies on the market — and the least likely to get hacked.

To learn more information about voice biometrics, click here.

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Weak Account Security Blamed in Deloitte Data Breach

Weak Account Security Blamed in Deloitte Data Breach

This week news broke about a major data breach at Deloitte, one of the world’s Big Four accounting firms.

Sources indicate that hackers were able to break into a company email server, where they were able to obtain at least five million of its clients’ records. The stolen information is believed to have included emails, business plans, sensitive documents, workers’ healthcare records and IP addresses.

Experts think the breach started back in October of 2016, and wasn’t discovered until March of this year. Deloitte has been aware of the situation, and has been actively investigating the matter over the last several months.

What’s interesting is how hackers were able to get into the network. According to Engadget, the breach originated from an administrator’s account that was protected only with a password. The account had no two-step, or multifactor, authentication.

If the account had been protected with two-step verification, like a voice, fingerprint or iris scanner, or even security questions or a personal identification number (PIN), it’s possible that the hacker would have been blocked from getting inside. The individual may have simply given up, finding it too difficult to enter the network, and moved on — sparing Deloitte of a security incident.

Now is therefore a good time to reflect on your own company’s digital security technologies. Does your business have the necessary protections in place to prevent hackers from breaking into personal accounts?

Voice biometric identity verification is one of the most convenient, affordable and effective ways to enhance digital security. With the help of VoiceVault, you can easily embed voice biometrics into all of your applications and endpoints.

To learn more, click here. For a free developer trial, click here.

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How One School District is Using Biometrics to Streamline Lunch Counts

A growing number of school systems are now using biometric technologies to streamline internal processes and prove compliance with state programs.

The Hazelton Area School District, for instance, is now using biometric identity verification to prove that they are feeding the actual number of students they claim to be serving on a daily basis.

According to Biometric Update, students across the district have been receiving free lunches since 2015 following a federal initiative to deal with hunger. And now, the school system needs to prove that it is in compliance, and that their reports are accurate.

As such, the district has installed fingerprint scanners at the lunch counter — allowing students to move through lines faster than they would using traditional systems like ID scanners or account numbers.

Here at VoiceVault, we applaud the district’s decision to approve and implement biometric identity verification technology in its schools. However, we want to remind other school districts considering this option that fingerprint scanners are not the only identity verification solution on the market.

Face biometric readers, for instance could be used to take pictures of students at the register. And voice biometrics could be used, too. Recent technological advances have made voice biometrics systems much more conducive for noisy atmospheres like school lunchrooms. Plus, they are the most secure out of all the biometric technologies on the market. Voiceprints, it should be noted, cannot be hacked and stolen by cybercriminals.

What’s more, both face and voice scanners are more sanitary for a cafeteria as they would not require students to press any buttons before touching their food.

Our hope is that more school systems will use biometrics to prove federal compliance and streamline efficiencies in the future. To learn more about how VoiceVault can help with this initiative, click here.

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Equifax Breach Could Produce Spike in Fraudulent Transactions

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.

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Study Shows Sharp Spike in Biometric Payment Adoption

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.

To get started, click here.

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Fraud Prevention Blacklists Are a Bad Idea

Fraud and identity theft remain two of the biggest problems facing consumers today. Last year, for instance, both cost consumers over $16 billion. Altogether, about 15.4 million consumers were impacted — an increase of 16 percent from 2015.

In an effort to reduce both identity theft and fraud, some companies are now experimenting with preventative “blacklists.” These lists are designed to automatically flag and block suspicious customer names, email addresses, accounts and mailing addresses.

It may seem like a natural fit to use voice biometric identity verification as part of a blacklisting strategy. Unfortunately, though, it’s not that simple. And here at VoiceVault, we do not support the practice of blacklisting.
The main reason why blacklists are not advisable is that fraudsters have already found a way to bypass them. Fraudsters are now calling random consumers, tricking them into making a statement and recording their voices. These stolen voice samples can be used to create fraudulent transactions. Then, when innocent victims go to make normal transactions, they are in many cases being denied because their voice is blacklisted.

So as you can see, blacklists can actually do more harm than good for customers. Instead of creating a blacklisted database, the safer and far more effective alternative is to ask customers to use voice biometric identity verification when signing up for services. VoiceVault, for instance, is specifically engineered to identify and block voice recordings. So if a fraudster attempts to use a spoofed voiceprint during a transaction, it will be picked up immediately and the caller will be denied access.

Voice biometric identity verification, it should be noted, can also be used alongside additional identity verification technologies like facial or fingerprint scanners, passwords and security questions for enhanced security.
To learn more about voice biometrics, click here.

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Does User Aging Impact Voice Biometric Authentication?

Have you ever had a conversation with someone that you haven’t spoken with in many years, and thought their voice sounded different? As it turns out, it probably was.

The vocal system — comprised of the vocal and nasal tracts — are directly supported by the lungs, nervous and hearing systems. Altogether it takes between 70 and 100 muscles to make a sound. As these systems change over time, they alter the speed and volume of a person’s voice. A common example is hearing loss, which can cause a person to speak much differently than they typically would.

Research shows that between the ages of 48 and 68, the voice will actually dip in frequency. And between the ages of 68 and 98, it rises again.

Aging presents one of the top challenges for developers when designing voice biometric authentication systems. Unlike fingerprints, which do not change with time, voice biometric systems need to account for all of the different variables that can impact user authentication.

VoiceVault’s voice biometric engine, was specifically designed to account for voice changes over a prolonged period. This is possible because VoiceVault measures many different aspects of a user’s voiceprint — like the average pitch of their voice, the speed which they talk and the amount of time between sounds.

This intelligent system is even able to take into account daily fluctuations in users’ voices. For instance, if a user loses his or her voice or comes down with a cold, that person will still be able to log in as they would if they were sounding normal.

To learn more about voice biometrics, click here.

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