Voice Authentication Beats Fingerprint Biometrics for Data Protection

By Michael Boukadakis

While the average consumer’s banking and payment account information may not be considered as highly-sensitive as the "non official cover" list from Mission Impossible, multi-layer authentication is still the best way to fend off fraudsters.

And biometric security technology like voiceprint identification isn’t reserved for the CIA.

Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) guidance recommends and sometimes mandates using multi-layered, dynamic forms of customer authentication, because archaic, static methods are not sufficient when it comes to combating sophisticated white collar crime. The passwords, PINs and static security questions of yesteryear can now easily be compromised and are not sure forms of account authentication to protect customers.

As part of an onboarding and authentication system, biometrics can be combined with advanced Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA). Voice biometrics is a dependable method of identification that is perfect for multi-layered authentication systems. In fact, voice biometrics technology is even more reliable than fingerprinting with a 99.99 percent success rate.

After Japan started checking the fingerprints of foreign visitors in 2007, a Chinese woman named Lin Rong passed through a security checkpoint and evaded immigration by having a plastic surgeon swap her fingerprints from her left and right hands. And she’s just one of many who tried to alter their fingerprints through various techniques. In another case, the FBI mistakenly matched a partial fingerprint found on a bag of detonators linked to the March 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid to Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer in Oregon.

Government intelligence agencies worldwide rely on voice biometrics security technology, and issuers can, too. While PINs and other authentication data can be breached, someone’s voice cannot be compromised or stolen. Even voice recordings cannot be used to gain unauthorized account access, as voice biometrics technology can be programmed to ask for words, numbers and phrases in random order, making “replays” and stolen voice prints useless.

While the series of security checks need not be as extensive as those in Tom Cruise’s secret agent series, it’s important that financial institutions and card companies deploy multiple lines of defense. KBA for customer identification is another key component of the fraud prevention system. The KBA technology of today helps organizations authenticate customers to onboard and activate their accounts in real-time via their mobile devices.

Next-generation KBA is particularly vital to the prepaid credit card industry. When a prepaid or cash card is purchased in-store, the customer often wants to cash load and use the card immediately; delays lead to loss of customer interest and failed activations. KBA enables card companies to verify personal information and authenticate identities on-the-spot. The customer can use his or her mobile device to activate and cash load the card immediately. Plus, the authentication process can take place in real-time without the costly interaction of speaking with a live customer service representative or using IVR minutes.

Whether brute force attacks, credential sharing, hacking, Phishing, Vhishing, credential resets, Internet searches or social engineering, voice biometrics backed by modern KBA steadfastly protects your customers and your organization. Outwit the bad guys with security technology that is more than just magic in the movies.

Michael Boukadakis is the founder and CEO of Enacomm, a provider of customer interactions technology.

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