University studying voice authentication vendor claims

The University of Canberra is currently undergoing trials of voice authentication software on behalf of the federal government.

The trials, conducted by the adjunct professor for computing and head of Canberra University national centre for biometrics Clive Summerfield and a team of three, are aiming to prove vendor claims and ascertain how different software works in various conditions, like noisy environments or backgrounds.

Summerfield said their work currently extends to proving vendor claims and understanding how the software may degrade in high noise conditions.

"We are looking at areas of vulnerability in order to confirm how the technology maintains security benefits in high noise conditions," Summerfield said.

"Basically we are testing to understand how the technology stacks up in real-life conditions, like if a truck drives by or you have a noisy signal that means the technology inadvertently accepts imposters into the system - we are looking at vulnerabilities in order to confirm the technology maintains security benefits in high noise conditions.

Summerfield said that further research looks into the appropriate way it should be applied, adding security of voice authentication software is factored in by processes used and how the software is deployed.

"Voice authentication is stronger for proof of identity - it also provides you with an opportunity to make a call centre more efficient through security."

This week, Unisys donated two enterprise-class ES3120 servers to the University of Canberra to aid in their work on voice authentication.

Director of Secure Identification and Biometrics for Unisys Asia Pacific Terry Hartmann said the studies are looking at products and the state of the market to see how well they work in Australian conditions.

"Voice biometrics is influenced by local accents and communities more so than other biometrics and when it comes to voice some tuning has to be done for local countries," Hartmann said.

"We are really trying to get an independent approach to analyze the current software and make that information available to all parties.

"The great potential for [voice authentication] is for credit card transactions over the phone because operators would know the person on the line is not someone who stole the credit card and when interacting with government agencies people tied to benefits from the government can confirm they are the original receiver of payments."

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