Are Deepfakes a Genuine Threat or an Exaggerated Fear?

Deepfakes have been a topic of discussion in recent years, with concerns about their potential for misuse and the impact they could have on society. As someone who has worked in security for decades, I have seen how technology has evolved and how people have used it to deceive others. From my early days working on a switchboard to my time as an internal auditor, I have witnessed various forms of deception, some of which are similar to what we see with deepfakes today.

One recent incident that caught my attention was a $25 million deepfake fraud scheme. In this case, an employee received calls from two deepfake executives and was convinced to wire a large sum of money to an illicit organization. It took two weeks before the fraud was discovered, highlighting the sophistication and effectiveness of this type of scam. As someone with experience in auditing and financial controls, I immediately recognized the red flags in this situation. The lack of proper authorization processes and the insider knowledge required to pull off such a scheme point to serious flaws in the company’s security measures.

Another potential use of deepfakes for fraud is the “kidnapped loved one” scam, where perpetrators use fake videos or phone calls to convince individuals that their loved ones are in danger and extort money from them. This tactic preys on people’s emotions and can lead to significant financial losses if not handled properly. It is crucial to remain calm and contact law enforcement first when dealing with such situations to ensure the safety of your loved ones and prevent falling victim to fraud.

While deepfakes are often associated with negative outcomes, there are also positive uses for this technology. One example is the Shotline project, which uses deepfake technology to give voice to victims of gun violence. By allowing deceased individuals to speak out against violence, this initiative aims to raise awareness and advocate for change in a powerful and impactful way. It demonstrates how technology can be leveraged for social good and advocacy purposes.

In conclusion, while deepfakes pose a significant threat in terms of fraud and deception, there are ways to mitigate these risks. Implementing robust security measures, staying vigilant, and seeking help from law enforcement when needed can help protect individuals and organizations from falling victim to deepfake scams. Additionally, platforms like Otherweb offer solutions for filtering out fake news and creating a safe space for discussions on current events. By leveraging technology for both security and social good, we can navigate the challenges posed by deepfakes and work towards a safer and more informed society.


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