Conversational Security / 27.05.2014

Banks in Middle East evaluate Voice Biometrics to solve 21st century cyber threats

Long gone the days of traditional banking where customers wait in long queues just to meet their bank teller and get their transactions processed. In 2010, over 60% of customers had never used mobile banking, but that number is expected to fall to 37.7% by 2015, according to a leading IT consulting firm’s customer survey. Today we are living in the generation of digital natives where we get to do almost everything in one simple touch, thanks to smart phones and tablets for this. Because these high tech gadgets in our hands have transformed the traditional banking into online and mobile banking through which sending money to anyone anytime – Instant money transfer once was myth turned into reality.

Mobile_Online_Banking

As financial institutions utilize innovative smart technologies to expand their online and mobile banking services, fraudsters certainly are close behind. Security experts at a US cyber threat intelligence firm discovered that a large fraud campaign was launched against major Middle East banking institutions. They uncovered a malware which infected mobile devices of the customers to interfere with the two factor authentication mechanisms in place. Though two factor authentication method increases the robustness for authentication process, it is not able to provide 360 degree protection and prone to cyber attacks. Financial institutions desperately need a robust yet smooth solution to fit in this context and get rid of cyber attacks.

Now, Voice biometrics is being identified as secure ways to authenticate customers, banks across the globe are starting to adopt voice biometrics in their customer identification process.

How voice biometrics can save the day?
Voice biometrics is considered as the security of next generation banking because it is proved to be more secure than PINs, Passwords and security questions. Voice biometrics software collects voiceprint, unique physical and behavioral characteristics of individual voice and verifies it every time when the user needs to be authenticated. Therefore it can’t be faked or imitated as it is unique to every individual like their fingerprint.

Not just that, voice biometrics is proved to be more user-friendly than any other authentication systems. Users don’t have to remember any junky passwords or pins because their voice serves as their password to access the system. Moreover enrolling voice biometrics doesn’t require high-tech gizmos, users can be easily authenticated using their smart phones. The convenience, portability, scalability and high level security lures banking institutions to enroll voice biometrics in their customer authentication process.

What are the common misconceptions about Voice Biometrics?
Impersonate with a voice recording
A basic misconception about voice biometrics is that people can impersonate an individual’s voice with a recording. Voice biometrics can’t be cracked as simple as that, it doesn’t only measure the sound of a speaker’s voice; it registers their voiceprint. Voiceprint is a combination of spectrum of frequencies, physical and behavioral attributes of a person. Even the high quality voice recording or a human imitator can’t forge the voiceprint and bypass the system.

Rejecting the user if he’s sick
Even if the user is sick or having cold, the voice may sound different but the unique voiceprint is not likely to be affected. Users can still authenticate their voice and access the system without any service interruption.

Customers might not use it
Voice biometrics is proved to be a hassle-free authentication process than PINs and Passwords. Customers will have to speak the passphrase and repeat it twice for the system to register variations and frequencies. Once the customers register their voiceprint it hardly takes 15 seconds for them to verify every time they access the system. It’s just like speaking to iPhone Siri, customers feel secured and motivated to use voice biometrics.

It may not be cost effective
Voice biometrics is one of the cost effective authentication systems compared to the other authentication modes. It doesn’t require any specific device at the customer end to authenticate them. It can be simply integrated with an IVR or a mobile app to authenticate the customer and allow them to process their transactions.

With all the above mentioned attributes, Voice biometrics is turning out to be the hot trend to look for in banking circle. Banks in Middle East and Asian regions are looking to enroll voice biometrics to stay away from fraudsters and cyber attackers. Uniphore being a pioneer in providing voice solutions are enabling voice biometrics for various banks across the world. For more info on voice biometrics contact me at kaviarasan@uniphore.com or call our Dubai’s office +971 501528717.

About Uniphore: Uniphore Software Systems is the leader in Multi lingual speech-based software solutions. Uniphore’s solutions allow any machine to understand and respond to natural human speech, thus enabling humans to use the most natural of communication modes, speech, to engage and instruct machines. Uniphore operates from its corporate headquarters at IIT Madras Research Park, Chennai, India and has sales offices in Middle East (Dubai, UAE) as well as in Manila, Philippines.