BBC fools HSBC voice recognition security system

Safety software program designed to forestall financial institution fraud has been fooled by a BBC reporter and his twin.

BBC Click on reporter Dan Simmons arrange an HSBC account and signed as much as the financial institution’s voice ID authentication service.

HSBC says the system is safe as a result of every particular person’s voice is “distinctive”.

However the financial institution let Dan Simmons’ non-identical twin, Joe, entry the account by way of the phone after he mimicked his brother’s voice.

HSBC launched the voice-based safety in 2016, saying it measured 100 completely different traits of the human voice to confirm a consumer’s id.

‘Actually alarming’

Clients merely give their account particulars and date of start after which say: “My voice is my password.”

Though the breach didn’t permit Joe Simmons to withdraw cash, he was capable of entry balances and up to date transactions, and was supplied the prospect to switch cash between accounts.

“What’s actually alarming is that the financial institution allowed me seven makes an attempt to imitate my brothers’ voiceprint and get it unsuitable, earlier than I acquired in on the eighth time of attempting,” he stated.

“Can would-be attackers attempt as usually as they like till they get it proper?”

Individually, a Click on researcher discovered HSBC Voice ID saved letting them attempt to entry their account after they intentionally failed on 20 separate events unfold over 12 minutes.

Click on’s profitable thwarting of the system is believed to be the primary time the voice safety measure has been breached.

HSBC declined to touch upon how safe the system had been till now.

A spokesman stated: “The safety and security of our clients’ accounts is of the utmost significance to us.

“Voice ID is a really safe methodology of authenticating clients.

“Twins do have an analogous voiceprint, however the introduction of this know-how has seen a major discount in fraud, and has confirmed to be safer than PINS, passwords and memorable phrases.”

Account open

“I am shocked,” stated Mike McLaughin, a safety professional at Firstbase Applied sciences.

“This shouldn’t be allowed to occur.

“One other particular person shouldn’t be capable of entry your checking account.

“Voices are distinctive – but when the system permits for too many discrepancies within the voiceprint for a match, then it isn’t safe.

“And that appears to be what’s occurred right here.”

Prof Vladimiro Sassone, an professional in cyber-security, from the College of Southampton, stated biometrics may, normally, be an efficient safety layer, however there have been risks if corporations put an excessive amount of religion in one thing that was not 100% safe.

“In precept there ought to be no room for error in any respect,” stated Prof Sassone.

“It ought to be good on the first try.”

“Voice identification is just not like a password system.”

“You possibly can’t neglect your voice or get the unsuitable one.

“After two makes an attempt, techniques ought to have the ability to say whether or not it is a match or not and alert the financial institution and consumer if additional makes an attempt are made.”

Prof Sassone stated utilizing distinctive biometric traits as a verifier ought to make it more durable for hackers – but when they need to be copied by criminals, customers couldn’t then change their voice, face, or fingerprint as they’d a password.

“If you need to show it wasn’t you who accessed your account – that it was both a mimic or pc software program – then how are you going to try this?” he requested.

“Particularly if the financial institution is claiming the system is ideal.”

Safety professional Prof Alan Woodward, from the College of Surrey, stated it was harmful to depend on one organic attribute to authenticate somebody, even when it was one distinctive to that particular person.

“Biometric primarily based safety has a historical past of measurements being copied,” he stated.

“We have seen fingerprints being copied with every thing from gummy bears to images of individuals’s arms.

“Therefore, biometrics, identical to different facets of safety, will at all times should evolve as measures emerge to threaten them.

“Safety is a narrative of measure and counter-measure.”

He stated HSBC in all probability wanted to reassess its know-how and ideally add one other “issue” alongside the voiceprint verify to authenticate id.

“In addition to requiring one thing you might be, it will require one thing you understand or one thing you might have, like a PIN,” he stated.

“That makes it rather more tough to compromise.”

It isn’t simply the flexibility of people to idiot computer systems that’s worrying some high-tech corporations.

Begin-up Lyrebird is engaged on methods to duplicate a voice utilizing only a few minutes of recorded speech.

Co-founder Jose Sotelo stated there was little doubt this had “implications” for voice identification techniques.

“We’re working with safety researchers to determine one of the best ways to proceed,” he informed Click on.

“This is without doubt one of the causes we have now not printed this to the general public but.

“It is a scary software however we imagine that we ought to be cautious and shouldn’t be terrified of know-how and we should always attempt to make the most effective out of it,” he stated.

“One concept we’re contemplating is to watermark the audio samples we produce so we’re capable of detect instantly whether it is us that generated this pattern.”

You possibly can see the complete BBC Click on investigation into biometric safety in particular version of the present on BBC Information and on the iPlayer from Saturday, 20 Might.


Revealed at Fri, 19 Might 2017 00:21:00 +0000