It’s a brave new technological world out there, and it seems to reinvent itself every couple of years. What was inconceivable only a few years ago goes from Hollywood fantasy to ubiquity in the proverbial blink of an eye. Virtual assistants like Iron Man’s J.A.R.V.I.S. leapt off the screen and into our homes via Alexa and Google Home. James Bond watches turned out to be woefully simplistic compared to the robust capabilities of Apple’s Watch. But with every great new technology consumers rush to adopt comes greater security risks than most realize. And as we’ve moved farther and farther into the world of biometric authentication, the tools for theft become more advanced, and the scope of injury intensifies. So it is with voice fraud and voice hacking.
When we talk about biometric authentication, we mean physical attributes systems use to identify you and grant access. Apple’s TouchID is that for fingerprints; Face ID is that for facial recognition; CLEAR lanes at the airport are that for retinal scans. They’re great because they’re far more convenient than remembering a litany of passwords; they’re terrible because if they ARE hacked, the damage can be catastrophic — you can’t reset your fingerprint or iris the way you can an alphanumeric password.
Natural language processing, or NLP, is a vanguard of consumer-usable artificial intelligence. It’s maybe the first and most widespread use of AI, coming via Siri, Alexa etc. And as the Internet of Things invades more and more aspects of our lives, and as NLP AI gets better and faster, the voice interface has become a dominant form of human/digital command issuance. But that also makes it ripe for voice hacking.
And what happens if your voice, a biometric identifier in its own right, is hacked?
This is why it can be so hard to keep your home and/or business secure from malicious actors — the cooler and more intuitive a new technology, the more you want to use it. But it also makes for system vulnerabilities you never intended or prepared to counteract.
For this specific issue, a fascinating new startup enters the breach:
“Now, a security startup called Pindrop is announcing that it has raised $90 million to tackle this with a platform that it says can identify even the most sophisticated impersonations and hacking attempts, by analysing nearly 1,400 acoustic attributes to verify if a caller or a voice command is legit.”
We haven’t vetted Pindrop independently yet, but innovative, niche products and services like this underlie just how fast the cyber security landscape is changing. That’s why so many small and medium-sized businesses choose to partner with a managed service provider like Leverage to monitor and implement cyber defense strategies and technologies to protect against intrusions we could only dream of a few short years ago.