Voice Biometrics Poised for Growth

The global number of registered voiceprints will increase from 10 million today to over 25 million in 2015, according to a new report from Opus Research.

The analysis was sponsored by ValidSoft, a global supplier of fraud prevention and authentication and transaction verification solutions and a subsidiary of Elephant Talk Group.

The growth is in part expected to be spurred by the increasing use of—and security risks associated with—smartphones for payments and banking, along with heightened incidences of data theft and increasing awareness of fraud. This highlights the need for banks, businesses, and governments to take another look at methods of authenticating end users.

It's not enough to just secure hardware endpoints, according to Dan Miller, senior analyst at Opus Research. "Organizations want assurances that the individual at that endpoint is the person he or she claims to be," Miller said in a statement. "Voice biometrics can act as a part of a multilayer authentication process to help reduce fraud and to confirm that the endpoint user is genuine."

The security industry should adopt best practices when introducing voice biometrics to their customers, Miller said, which include: ensuring that security is balanced with customer usability; engaging stakeholders early in the process and leveraging existing resources; gaining customer trust by proving that the technology works—be ready to adapt; and looking ahead and bearing in mind future upgrades and new technology.

"A multifactor/four-factor approach to user authentication and transaction verification provide robust security without compromising customer experience, and voice biometrics can play an important role in this," said Pat Carroll, CEO of ValidSoft, in a statement. "This not only applies to financial services and government sectors, but is also relevant to the social media industry and the latest challenges it faces with users' stolen identities."

According to Carroll, some aspects of a person's identity that need to be checked are: something you are, namely your voiceprint; something you have, which is your mobile phone; something you know, like your PIN or password; and somewhere you are (or not), which can be established using privacy-protected signaling services associated with the global mobile networks.

"Voice biometrics strikes the right balance of strong authentication and usability," said Miller. "It is a powerful tool for preventing fraud and promoting empowerment through self-service, and will in the long run help financial institutions save money from fraudulent transactions and reduced administration costs.

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