Brit bank Barclays rolls out speech recognition for telephone banking

I hab a cold. What do goo mean you can't berify?


UK high street bank Barclays is introducing voice recognition for users of its telephone banking service.

The roll-out of the technology is designed to provide a more secure alternative to pass-codes and the answers to secrets questions as a means to authenticate consumers accessing telephone banking services.

The retail bank is rolling out voice biometrics technology from Nuance – already used by customers of its high-roller banking arm – to its 12 million retail customers next year.

The technology works by recording a customer's voiceprint, which is recorded and used to identify them in seconds during subsequent conversations with the bank's call centre. Barclays reckons the technology has the potential to reduce fraud and increase security while making life easier for consumers.

Jason Hart, VP cloud solutions at data protection firm SafeNet, commented: "It’s not surprising that Barclays is making the move away from password-based authentication for its telephone banking. Today we have so many passwords to remember that we choose easy-to-guess passwords, use the same passwords for several accounts, or even write down passwords where they can be easily found.

"So organisations need to look for alternative ways to authenticate users and bolster security. This means not relying on basic username and password for customer authentication and adopting a holistic security strategy that offers multiple layers of protection, such as multi factor authentication and encryption," he explained.

Hart added that voice-recognition biometrics alone were not enough and need to be supplemented with other security controls.

"While biometrics can provide a convenient and alternative security mechanism, it should not be used as a single factor authentication solution. This is partly because of the fact that biometrics are not based on secrets. Your voice, your image and your fingerprint are not a secret. You leave them everywhere and they can be spoofed, with different levels of effort. So it’s important that they are used as part of a multi-factor authentication strategy," he concluded.

Chris England, director at identity management firm Okta, said Barclays' customers are likely to welcome to move away from passwords.

“We’ve reached a point where usernames and passwords alone are no longer good enough," England explained. "We’ve long had single sign-on technologies to remove the complexity of remembering multiple passwords, but what if someone else gets a hold of that single username and password?"

"Not surprisingly, multi-factor authentication – which requires two or more factors to verify legitimacy of the user – has taken off and evolved pretty substantially in the past decade and we’re now seeing authentication methods becoming as personalised and specific to the individual as the experiences they're trying to access. At Okta, we’ve already seen a lot of organisations implementing more flexible, adaptive, people-centric authentication methods and expect to see more following in Barclays’ footsteps,” he added. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022