Watch how AI is after your bank account now

Onur Demirkol
Feb 24, 2023

There is an ongoing debate on the ethical issues the newly-popular AI technology could bring, and both sides have solid arguments. With the latest news, it is proven that AI could lead to possible fraud attempts.

Joseph Cox from Vice did an experiment by using an AI-generated version of his voice to check his balance via phone banking. At first, he prepared synthetic clones of his voice for specific terms the bank's automated line would ask for and called the number to see if it would really work. He downloaded the audio files to his laptop and placed it near his phone. The bank's automated line picked up the phone, and the conversation began.

The ongoing debate on the ethical issues of the newly-popular AI technology proves that AI could lead to possible fraud attempts.

Firstly, the bank asked why he was calling, but rather than speaking out loud, Cox played one of the AI-generated audio files that said, "check my balance." Surprisingly, it worked, and the process moved to the second phase. The automated voice of the bank asked him to say or type his date of birth information, which he did by entering on the screen. Considering the date of birth is not very confidential, fraudsters could easily obtain it. After typing his date of birth, the bank said, "please say, my voice is my password," which is literally the password used to get into your banking account.

Cox was prepared and played his AI-generated voice from his laptop, "my voice is my password." According to his words, the bank's security spent a few seconds authenticating the voice, and eventually, it said, "thank you," allowing him to access his banking information. Cox said: "I couldn’t believe it—it had worked. I had used an AI-powered replica of a voice to break into a bank account. After that, I had access to the account information, including balances and a list of recent transactions and transfers."

This is a popular security precaution that is used in the US and Europe, and with the developing technology, it is proven that it could easily be breached. Cox said that he used a free voice creation service from ElevenLabs, and anybody can access it. He made the test on a British bank, Lloyd Bank, and according to the company website, it is a safe security method. The bank says: “Your voice is like your fingerprint and unique to you. Voice ID analyses over 100 different characteristics of your voice which like your fingerprint, are unique to you. Such as, how you use your mouth and vocal chords, your accent and how fast you talk. It even recognises you if you have a cold or a sore throat.” Proven that it could have serious security breaches.

Cox included a statement made by a spokesperson of the bank: “Voice ID is an optional security measure, however we are confident that it provides higher levels of security than traditional knowledge-based authentication methods, and that our layered approach to security and fraud prevention continues to provide the right level of protection for customers' accounts, while still making them easy to access when needed.”

For now, synthetic voice fraud isn't very common, but technology development concerns both good and bad aspects. While security methods or basic stuff that AI helps us improve in time, fraud and negative usage of these technologies also get common.


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