How voice technologies change our lives? “Stop voice theft” panel, IGF 2022

Over 600 people, 20 panel sessions, 3 thematic paths are the balance of this year's Digital Summit, which took place in Lublin. The event was attended by representatives of government administration, foundations as well as business, research centers and schools. The Forum could not miss the BiometrIQ company, which has been specializing in development of voice technology systems and their use in fraud detection for several years.

Being an organizer of one of panels, the company introduced the voice biometrics market by inviting experts representing the technology, business and science sectors to the discussion "Stop voice theft. Innovative voice biometric services". The invited guests discussed issues that are extremely important for this field, such as the rapid pace of development of voice technologies and the associated threats, as well as the range of applications of voice biometrics and ways to protect voice theft in the network, thus outlining the near future for the voice market.

The panel session began with a fragment of popular film "Mission Impossible 3" showing an example of voice theft and its effective use.

Moderator Maciej Kurzajewski, referring to the film, opened the discussion with the words "Is what we saw a moment ago on this screen already reality or the near future or was the cinema one step ahead of what is happening today"?

Adrian Boczkowski, the owner of BQ Consulting, spoke about readiness of business to use biometric technology. He emphasized that commercial solutions are currently mainly interested in financial institutions and telecoms, and in the future they will also be the government and health sectors. In fact, it cannot be ruled out that voice biometrics will eventually appear in every aspect of our lives. This is primarily due to the fact that speech is the most natural mechanism of communication. It is estimated, Adrian Boczkowski continued, that the global voice biometrics market will increase even 3 times by 2024.

The driver of effective voice synthesis will be artificial intelligence and neural networks. According to Tomasz Jadczyk, CTO Techmo, this technology will play a key role in developing voice replication. It will allow for building more advanced user models, thanks to which future solutions will be even more perfect than before. Already now to create a good quality model of the user's voice, it is enough from several minutes to an hour of recording, while just a few years ago several hours of recordings were needed.

Mentioned naturalness and comfort of voice communication mean that the importance of voice technologies will grow. Referring to the available research, Adrian Boczkowski said that 50% of the population is convinced to use this authentication method, and nearly 80% consider it a better method than a pin or password. This may mean that soon voice login will become a part of everyday life. However, we must remember existing threats posed by voice biometrics. "It is very easy to steal a voice today," said Andrzej Tymecki, managing director of BiometrIQ. Millions of recordings are circulating on the web, which, due to growing popularity of social media, we willingly leave ourselves. Citing numbers, Andrzej Tymecki pointed out that as of today, the YouTube archives alone contain 800 million recordings with an average length of 11.7 minutes, which gives about 70 seconds of recording assigned to every person living on the Earth. It is these recordings left in the public domain that can be easily used to create a replica of someone's voice, which can be used to carry out social engineering attacks. In particular, public persons: journalists, politicians and people holding important positions in companies are at risk of voice theft in order to use it in such attacks.

Recommending caution in communicating with bots seems to be a good tactic. Michał Hałoń, an expert at NASK-PIB, warned against the dangers associated with, among others, uncritical communication with voice assistants, which may result in leaving voice samples in an uncontrolled way, often in combination with personal data provided by us during the conversation. Among the most popular methods of voice theft protection, he pointed to identity verification by callback or video call.

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