Left Menu
Development News Edition

Banking by smart speaker arrives, but security issues exist

And with the rapid adoption of Zelle, a bank-to-bank transfer system, it soon could be possible to send money to friends or family instantly with voice commands.

PTI | Updated: 20-06-2018 14:47 IST | Created: 20-06-2018 14:47 IST
Banking by smart speaker arrives, but security issues exist
Big banks and financial companies have started to offer banking through virtual assistants — Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google's Assistant. (Image Credit: Flickr)

Hey Alexa, what's my bank account balance? Big banks and financial companies have started to offer banking through virtual assistants — Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google's Assistant — in a way that will allow customers to check their balances, pay bills and, in the near future, send money just with their voice.

And with the rapid adoption of Zelle, a bank-to-bank transfer system, it soon could be possible to send money to friends or family instantly with voice commands.

But the potential to do such sensitive tasks through a smart speaker raises security concerns. Virtual assistants and smart speakers are still relatively new technologies, and potentially susceptible to being exploited by cyber criminals.

Regional banking giant US Bank is the first bank to be on all three services — Alexa, Siri and Assistant. The company did a soft launch of its Siri and Assistant services in early March and this month started marketing the option to customers.

Other financial companies have set up virtual assistant features. Credit card companies Capital One and American Express both have Alexa skills that allow customers to check their balances and pay bills. There are other smaller banks and credit unions that have set up Google Assistant or Alexa as well.

"We want to be there for our customers in any possible way that we can," said Gareth Gaston, executive vice president for omnichannel banking at US Bank.

For now, US Bank is keeping the features available through bank-by-voice fairly restrictive. Customers will be able to check bank balances, pay US Bank credit cards and mortgages, ask Alexa or Google the due dates on bills, and other basic functions. Money cannot be transferred from a U.S. Bank account using voice yet, Gaston said, but the bank is considering the option.

Asking Google, Alexa or Siri for the weather or to tell a joke is one thing, but it's a whole other issue when these assistants access and share sensitive personal information. These apps will typically announce a person's available balance over the speaker, which has the potential to create awkward situations at parties.

In the case of Google and Alexa, users must create a secure connection between their bank and the assistant through Alexa's Skills or Google's Actions. All banks require the use of a four-digit PIN before they will provide balance and bank account info over these speakers, and suggest making those PINs different from the one on a customer's ATM card.

Apple's Siri is the most restrictive of the three virtual assistants, only showing a user a bank account balance on a screen, and not allowing other features like paying bills. Banks can integrate Siri into their iPhone and iPad apps, but Apple's HomePod smart speaker that launched earlier this year does not currently accept banking commands. A company spokeswoman declined to say whether that feature was coming.

Google Assistant has the capability to do individual voice recognition, providing one additional level of security on that platform, but that is not implemented on U.S. Bank's Action yet. Security experts say that additional level of security could be foiled, however.

"Users' voices can be recorded, manipulated, and replayed to the assistants," said Kurt Baumgartner, a security researcher with Kaspersky Lab. "Also, with access to banking accounts and abilities to transfer and pay out money, remote financial fraud may be within the reach of cybercriminal groups soon."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

Arms depot of Iran-backed Hezbollah explodes in south Lebanon, source says

An arms depot of the Iran-backed Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah exploded in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, a security source said, injuring several people and sending a new shockwave across a nation grappling with its deepest crisis in three d...

Designating enemies and pointing out targets will be my job: Navy woman officer picked as 'Observer'

Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh who has been selected to join as one of the Observers airborne tacticians in the helicopter stream, said that deciding, designating enemies, and pointing out targets will be her job. Speaking to ANI here Singh said...

EPL warns of devastating effect of delay reopening stadiums

The English Premier League warned of the devastating financial impact on clubs as supporters faced being locked out of games for another six months after new pandemic restrictions were imposed by the government on Tuesday. Prime Minister Bo...

World cannot afford future where two largest economies split globe in 'Great Fracture':UN chief

Without naming the US and China, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday that the world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture, as he urged the nations to do everything to avoid a new ...

Give Feedback