Voice is becoming a major interface for consumers to communicate with machines, fueled by the rise of artificial intelligence and the explosion of new voice assistant devices in the space. As a result, a new area of opportunity has emerged for malicious hackers in the area of voice fraud. A security startup called Pindrop is building software to protect our vocal identities. Security Magazine asserts that the rate of voice fraud grew 350% from 2013 to 2017 with no signs of slowing. Voice fraud increased by 47% between 2016 and 2017 alone. As we continue to use phones and voice assistants to do more complex tasks (disable home security systems, open a new credit card), hackers have more opportunities to infiltrate our private info.
Pindrop just raised a $90M Series D to develop voice “fingerprinting” tech that analyzes “1,400 acoustic attributes” to verify a call or a voice command. This platform claims to be able to identify even the most sophisticated impersonations and hacking attempts. Not only is this going to keep kids from ordering toys and candy from their parents’ Alexas, but more importantly, it will stop hackers from order stuff on Amazon or even commanding your smart home to unlock your front door. The funding is going to help Pindrop expand from customer service scenarios — the vast majority of its business today — into any applications that use voice interfaces; connected car platforms, home security devices, smart offices and smart home speakers. Pindrop works with call centers in eight of the top ten US banks to identify phone scams using unique audio characteristics and signifiers like type of device, carrier, and location to identify repeat callers and repeat scammers.
Why it’s hot: This type of ‘trend adjacent’ technology will ultimately allow us to use our voices instead of passwords and fingerprints (or having to remember your first pet’s name or favorite high school teacher security questions).