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Scam Detection Software Uses Voice Analysis to Deter Phone Phishing
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Scam Detection Software Uses Voice Analysis to Deter Phone Phishing

April 09, 2012

  By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

Don’t you wish that you had the ability to listen to someone’s voice over the telephone and know whether or not they were trying to deceive you? Don’t you wish that you’d had that software when your scheming ex-girlfriend called or that friend asked you to borrow money?

Software from Fujitsu (News - Alert), developed in conjunction with Japan’s Nagoya University, may not protect you from the people in your life. However, the product uses voice analysis to let people know when they may become the victims of a phone phishing scam. And the software analyzes your voice, not the caller’s voice, to determine if you’re under undue pressure.

According to researchers, the signs of psychological stress in your voice are better than analysis of the potential perpetrator’s voice. When you are under duress, your speech patterns change, and your intonations flatten and become less distinct. The analysis is based on research conducted by the Japan Science and Technology Agency in 2009, which recorded changes in the voice that occurred when a speaker was under psychological stress.

“There are limits to human powers of perception and judgment,” Fujitsu explained in its March 19 press release. “When overwhelmed with information that may be distressing, some individuals, without knowing it, may have a diminished capacity to objectively evaluate information provided by another party — a situation known as ‘overtrust.’”

Fujitsu claims that its voice analysis solution detects the vocal signals of ‘overtrust’ with more than 90 percent accuracy. The software also analyzes the speech of the caller, mining for common words like ‘compensation’ and ‘indebtedness’ that are often used in phone scams. When those words are repeatedly used, and the voice of the victim demonstrates detectable levels of stress, then the software will let the victim know that they are in danger.

The software will now undergo rigorous testing by Fujitsu and Nagoya University to determine its effectiveness in real-life situations. Some security experts, however, express concern that the software could register false positives for people who deliberately change their intonation habits on the phone or for people who are under duress for reasons unrelated to the phone call.

Fujitsu’s software won’t protect you from either your ex-girlfriend or your perpetually cash-challenged friends. However, if the software actually comes to market, it may save you from giving vital personal information to a phone phishing artist.

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