University researchers warn over voice recognition
15 November 2017 14:02 GMT

A team of researchers at the University of Eastern Finland say voice biometrics are vulnerable to spoofing attacks.

A new study by the university found that different technologies could fool the voice recognition software, such as voice conversion, speech synthesis and replay attacks - or just impersonating the voice of someone else. 

Voice impersonation, the University claimed, is common in the entertainment industry. There's also the issue of voice disguise, where speakers change the way they speak to avoid being recognised. The latter is common in situations that don't require face-to-face communication.

In the study, researchers analysed the speech of two professional impersonators mimicking eight Finnish public figures. It also looked at acted speech from 60 Finnish speakers, who participated recording sessions.

The speakers were asked to fake their age by changing their voices to sound older or younger, and an overwhelming number of them were able to trick the speech systems.

Tom Harwood, chief product officer and co-founder at Aeriandi, said: "Biometrics technology has been shown to significantly reduce fraud, especially in the financial sector - but it's not the whole solution. Earlier this year, twins tricked the HSBC voice biometrics security system, and this instance showed that no security technology is 100% fool-proof.

"Technology advances have also shown that it is now possible to cheat voice recognition systems. Voice synthesiser technology is a great example.

"It makes it possible to take an audio recording and alter it to include words and phrases the original speaker never spoke, thus making voice biometric authentication insecure.