In today's digital world, we have to remember so many passwords for the different accounts we use for banking and work, for social networks, and other websites. Despite our many security precautions, we often can see the results of password theft on the news. For IT departments, this creates the challenge of choosing a better way to safeguard our data and access.
At present, fingerprint biometric technology is increasingly being used as one advanced authentication system. The National Australia Bank (NAB) concentrated its biometrics authentication system using voice recognition instead of fingerprinting for customer identification.
That's because NAB believes voice recognition is more secure biometric technology than the fingerprint, said Adam Bennett, executive general manager of enterprise transformation at NAB, in a press conference in Sydney: "Voice has nearly 120 security points and the fingerprint has nearly 40 security points."
The bank has more than 100,000 customers using the voice authentication on their phones today. In the future, NAB wants to expand this voice biometric system into its ATMs, too. Not only does the financial institution rely on this technology for security, but it also views voice biometrics as a way to enhance customer service, since it's designed to reduce patrons' frustration over forgotten passwords, said Warren Shaw, NAB Personal Banking's executive general manager, in a statement.
Researchers continue to push the biometrics envelope, of course. Some are investigating the use of brainwaves to create thought-control computing, which could eventually include a security application.
In a company experiment, Interaxon could control a building's lights using its thought-control technology. Imagine the possibilities if someone integrates this with something like Google's Project Glass.
Facial recognition and fingerprints are authentication methods used in more devices today. It may take another decade before we see voice- and thought-control dominate common consumer devices. Where do you think the future of identification will be?
— Raj Kumar is an independent industry analyst and IT professional in the Coimbatore area of India.
Voice recognition software doesn't focus on one aspect of a voiceprint, but it analyses and calculates match potentials for many variables, including voice tone/pace/etc/etc. That's why it's hard to fool voice verification software and why voice verification software is tolerant of users with colds.
What do you mean? How could intruders get around bio-identification to, say, break into a bank system?
I think the translation from analog to digital is the weak point... a person's voice must be converted to a digital signal at some point for computer systems to verify it, so if that digital signal can be intercepted, then it's possible for that voiceprint password to be jeopardized. The nice part about voice recognition verification is that these systems can accept multiple spoken passphrases -- which can change each time a person logs in.
So while a fingerprint is just a fingerprint, a voiceprint has the extra ability for the user to change some part of the verification -- such as having the user speak dynamically generated (and different each time) passphrase.
Ultimately, it's hard to see how there could ever be a completely foolproof system -- as every password system ultimately has human beings controlling it, and social engineering hacks are generally the way bad guys gain access....
Mitch - "But what if you sprain your finger playing softball? That will change how you interact with the keyboard."
The potential for one biometric identification system to be challenged by a transient physical condition is why the newer authentication systems are moving toward multiple factors of biometric identification - multimodal biometrics. If the identification system combines characteristics of physical movement analysis (like keyboarding or gate/cadence), visual identification (iris, facial), with voice analysis, then the identification can handle short-term disturbances like sprained fingers.
Jason - I don't think a cold, or stress, would invalidate voice signature identification. There is an intrinsic quality to a voice that it really hard to change. It is much easier to recognize an actor by their voice than their face or movements because of the intrinsic qualities of a voice. Actors can put a speaking accent on their voice, but it doesn't change the intrinsic identifying features of their voice.
What i think would take a really good algorithm would be to spoof a voice - particularly if the system kept track of the 140 points of authentication and required a vocal response to a CAPTCHA.
Voice recognition security is really amazing but I'm trying to understand what is it that the system finds unique in a voice, is it the tone, is it the pace?? If so can this not be copied by some unauthorized person?
The computer or bio-reading device has to convert the analog scan to digital information. That is not being well taken care of. The bad guys just send the digitized scan information to the bank, the same way the computer would.
Kim Davis - DARPA has been working for a while on biometrics like keyboard interaction. I don't know when we're going to see results, but the idea that you sit down and start using a device, and it recognizes you immediately (or not) is appealing.
But what if you sprain your finger playing softball? That will change how you interact with the keyboard.
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