Using your voice as a password, how it works

Vocal biometrics promises to be the next frontier of cybersecurity applied to mobile devices. Here's how it works

In recent months, the field of biometrics has seen some very interesting developments that are destined to change the field of cybersecurity applied to mobile devices. Take, for example, the case of the Galaxy Note 8, which combines fingerprint scanning with face recognition and iris scanning.

A similar path should be taken by Apple, ready to integrate in its iPhone 8 an extremely fast three-dimensional facial recognition system. In short, the theme of biometrics applications to the security of mobile devices is very topical and there is little doubt that in the months and years to come it will be one of the sectors with the highest rate of investment by the various Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Amazon and Huawei. And the next "battleground" could be voice. The voice recognition systems used by virtual assistants such as Siri or Alexa are increasingly accurate and, soon, using your voice as a password will no longer seem as science fiction as it does now.

What is voice biometrics and how does it work

Merit, in this case, of the developments and advances recorded in the field of voice biometrics. This technology, by exploiting high-precision microphones and increasingly advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, is able to recognize the timbre of a person's voice. In fact, as it happens for fingerprints, face and iris, also the voice timbre is a unique and univocal characteristic. By studying voice peaks, inflection and other details associated with our speech, artificial intelligence systems are able to recognize us and distinguish us from millions (billions, actually) of other people.

How to use voice biometrics

Already widely used in banking, voice biometrics still finds some difficulty breaking through in the mobile industry. Even if some virtual assistants (the already mentioned Siri and Alexa, but also Cortana and Google Assistant are in this vein) have begun to use voice biometrics to activate themselves only when the owner of the device speaks, in the field of computer security there are (at the moment) no practical applications.

And yet voice biometrics promises to be easier to use than current systems. To use voice as a password, it will be enough to record a short unlocking phrase (such as, for example, "My name is Antonio") and use it when the phone is locked. Within a few moments the phone will be unlocked and ready to be used.