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How to protect yourself from deepfake technology scams

Are you concerned that deepfake technology has started to be taken to greater extremes?

AI Yoon's creators believe he is the world's first official deepfake candidate
AI Yoon's creators believe he is the world's first official deepfake candidate - Copyright AFP/File Jim WATSON, Grigory DUKOR
AI Yoon's creators believe he is the world's first official deepfake candidate - Copyright AFP/File Jim WATSON, Grigory DUKOR

The past few years have seen the rise of deepfake technology. These often take the form of convincing fake images and videos made generated through the use of artificial intelligence software.

Moving on from how the technology was manifest a couple of years ago, the images displayed have become increasingly realistic. One example of deepfake technology (“deep learning” and “fake”) convincing many people, and as an example of the technology entering the mainstream (in terms of wider public awareness), was when a graphic designer created a “Tom Cruise” deepfake video. In January 2022, this video went viral on TikTok.

Millions of views later, it is evident that, beyond entertainment, this technology holds great potential for tricking audience with digital manipulation. This is borne out by the fact that when a population of consumers were shown a clip of the real actor, Tom Cruise, being interviewed alongside an example of a “Deep Fake” Tom Cruise movie clip, 61 percent of users were unable to correctly distinguish the real and fake Tom Cruise images from each other (readers can view the two recordings on YouTube here).

There are also concerns that deepfake technology has started to be taken to greater extremes. Also occurring in January 2022, was the event where attackers pulled off a bank heist resulting in $35 million in stolen funds by using deepfake technology. The trick was to clone the voice of a bank CEO, fooling bank employees into handing them sensitive information.

While attacks of this nature are not yet commonplace, the wider availability of the technology will increasingly call into question the authenticity of videos, images and news information. To counteract this, there will be the need for increased greater security to protect consumers from both simple – and complex – scams in the future.

Hank Schless, Senior Manager of Security Solutions at Lookout has provided Digital Journal with some advice for people to consider in order to avoid being tricked by deepfake images, especially in situations that can cause harm.

These are:

Remember that not everything you see online is real

From deepfake technology to phishing attacks – scams are growing increasingly difficult to discern with the naked eye. Always exercise caution if you are contacted by a company or individual when you can’t validate their identity with 100 percent confidence.

Exercise caution when sharing information digitally

Often scams will use urgency to trick people into giving away information quickly. If you see a post online, receive a text message or get a phone call from a company expressing extreme urgency, stop and go directly to the source to validate whether it is legitimate.

Consider using advanced security with malware and Safe Browsing protection.

This will scan all links you click on in social media, text messages, and online, then block threats before they do harm..

An example is with the packages provided by Lookout, which are designed to help users to protect their digital information at every level.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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