According to John Shier, senior advisor to
speak to Register (opens in a new tab)Shier said deepfakes are not as popular with scammers, mainly because they are not necessary.
“The thing about deepfakes is that we don’t see much of them,” he said. “People will give up information if you ask nicely.”
Deepfake in the future
Put simply, deepfakes are videos that use artificial intelligence to generate authentic-looking videos of people saying things that the developer has programmed them to say.
Common uses of this technology among fraudsters include identity theft. In 2018, researchers highlighting the dangers of deepfakes used this technology to steal the identity of former US President Barack Obama and spreading lies on the internet.
Deep fakes may be overkill for some types of scams, but Shier believes romance scams (in which a scammer approaches his victim online to entice them to send money his way) could make good use of technology because the videos they will add inherent credibility to an online person.
Shier believes, however, that we do not see the maximum impact that deepfakes can have on social engineering scams in the future, and that we should still be careful about the use of deepfakes in organized crime.
“AI experts say it’s still a few years away from a massive impact,” he said. “In the meantime, we’ll see well-endowed criminal groups perform the next level of compromise to get people to put funds into their accounts.”
Shier isn’t the only security researcher worried about deepfakes. Eric Horvitz, Director of Science at Microsoft, discussed the idea of advanced use of deepfake in fraud cases in an academic study paper published last month, titled “On the Horizon: Interactive and Compositional Deep Fakes.”
In the article, Horvitz discusses his beliefs that in the near future, we won’t be sure if the person we’re talking to on a video call is real or a scammer, as deepfake technology has become easier to acquire and use.
“Open source toolkits are now available for creating deep fakes, lowering the bar of expertise required to generate and then disseminate them at lightning speed on social media. We can expect deepfakes to become difficult to distinguish from reality.”
While deepfakes may not be as common at the moment, it is clear that scammers are still committed to using technology to ensnare their victims online.
The ubiquitous nature of the internet means that anyone can be a victim and this is cause for concern.