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.
I like the idea of using voice for security. Actually, I like the idea of using anything uninvasive for security that doesn't involve passwords. I don't know that brain-controlled access is anything close to reality in terms of opening our applications and logging on to networks, but surely we are getting close to wider adoption of voice or fingerprint biometrics for day-to-day computer use?
One concern about any form of biometric security is what happens when access is compromised. You can reissue someone a new password, but it's not so easy to reissue their fingerprint, or retina-print, or voice.
Also, will the voice recognition work if the user has laryngitis, cold, or allergy attack?
From what I've read, there are always password backup systems to biometric solutions -- definitely one drawback to the technology, since IT departments must implement dual systems for primary and secondary means of access. I recall speaking to a company that used fingerprint biometrics for its workers' timecards. For some reason, two employees' fingerprints were unusable and they had to access the system via traditional password.
The Americans with Disabilities rules, too, must be adhered to. Other countries, I'd think, have similar rules to prevent discrimination; that would also extend to people's ability to log-on.
That was my first thought too... sometimes if I get a cold people can instantly tell it because my voice changes.
It would take a REALLY good algorithm to get around that.
Also, what about voice actors? Or recordings? You could in theory game the biometric to think the real user was calling, just like you can hold a picture up to many of the facial recognition webcam software and wiggle it to get the algorithm to "recognize" the owner and unlock the device.
Biometrics are still too much of a work in progress imho for serious privacy/security applications; they are however fascinating from a research perspective.
Well, I hate to be grotesque, and I don't know what part of the world you live in, but quite frankly if my bank account could be drained with a thumbprint, I'd be walking round with iron gloves on. I have been using index finger id to get into 24 Hour Fitness for 3 years now and I like it, but I'd like to keep my fingers close to the rest of my body. Voice sounds a lot less "invasive" but really why not mix all together...face, voice, print, passcode, shoe size...etc.
There is the Maxwell Smart shoe. Actually, it's got nothing to do with the TV show, but Carnegie-Mellon researchers are working on insoles for biometrics, the Washington Post wrote several months ago. They're basing their research on the fact that people have a unique gait--but, of course, gaits change with age, accident, illness, etc.
I think voice is a really good option for authentication. Like Alison said, it is not intrusive. We're also starting to see phones and othe devices work via voice fairly well so using it as a "gateway" makes sense. There may come a time where a lot of work interfacing with digital devices will be done with voice commands. The technology is only going to get better and may make security less of a headache. There will be less passwords to remember when you can use your vocal cords!
Sure, if it were one metric, it would have to be exact. But when you meld togther several then you can be a little fuzzy on each with the total giving you a really good match. And now I read they are doing a lot with "age projection" where they can estimate how a person would look after 5 or 10 years.
Melding together several metrics does indeed sound promising. Using some combination of voice, fingerprints and -- who knows? -- keyboard typing rhythm, facial recognition, and retina scans would enable users to continue to be identified even if one or more metric is distorted or compromised, while making it harder for intruders to break in.
One thing is clear: Passwords are fundamentally broken. They were designed for the 1980s, when a person had two or three passwords to remember at most. Now, people have hundreds of passwords. The advice people get for password security is laughable -- nobody has time for all that nonsense of generating and keeping track of 12-digit passwords mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers?
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