Reshaping Reality With Deepfake Technology

Deepfake technology, artificial but hyper-realistic media created by algorithms, is one of the recent technological advancements in artificial intelligence that presents a larger risk for organisations. This new advancement is amplified by lightning speed and the broader reach of social media, which can reach millions of people in no time and create market deceptions.

A recent study by Science Direct found that Deepfake technology was used to create a video by the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality related to the Apollo II moon mission, which clearly showed that astronauts who went to the men never returned. Although the Apollo II mission was successful, this virtual video was created to generate public awareness of the risk caused by this emerging Artificial Intelligence-based technology.

The project co-lead and XR creative director Francesca Panetta told interviewers, “We hope our work will spark critical awareness among the public. We want them to be alert to what is possible with today’s technology (…) and to be ready to question what they see and hear as we enter a future fraught with challenges over the question of truth.”

In simple words, Deepfake technology is a digitally manipulated synthetic media content in which people are shown to do or say something that never happened or exists in the real world. As a result, this technology creates a high risk of misinformation and cybersecurity threats. According to the recent Tech Target report, deepfake technology uses deep learning techniques like generative adversarial networks to alter and stimulate a real person digitally, which lost companies that made a fraudulent bank transfer of around $35 million last year.

An article published in Security Magazine claims that the number of attacks using face and voice-altering technology increased by 13% last year. In the corporate world, where leaders and management leverage advanced security measures, a particular group uses Deepfake technology to promote chaos through misinformation and altering someone’s personality.

In 2022, BBC claimed that several malicious examples were reported in various IT firms in which Deepfake technology was used to mimic managers’ instructions to the employees, generating a fake message. Apart from this, Microsoft also released a new language transition service that mimics a human’s voice in another language. Such evolving tools and services made it easier for the perpetrators to mimic the CEOs and top management and negatively impacted the business operations.

Evolving Risk Landscape in Organisations

Over the years, artificial intelligence has emerged as a boon for the IT sector, resulting in efficient operations and replacing complex tasks that need human power. In an interview with Tucker Carlson, the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, predicted, “AI is far more dangerous than nukes.” It is becoming true as Deepfake technology opened new dimensions of cyberattacks involving spear phishing and manipulating biometric security systems. 

According to Barracuda Networks, in an analysis of 50 billion emails across 3.5 million mailboxes, its researchers uncovered nearly 30 million phishing emails. In India alone, more than 35% of organisations become victims of spear phishing, which endorses the risk of misinformation. Another report from The Hindu Business Line claimed that hackers generally used spear phishing with Deepfake technology to enable the nearly perfect impersonation of trusted figures in top Indian organisations. 

Due to this, the human element weakens and causes the weakest link in cybersecurity, making the cybercriminals steal the credentials by impersonating the IT staff and high-level executives using deepfake technology.

A Proactive Detection of Deepfake Technology 

Deepfake technology penetrates advanced security protocols and is still difficult to detect without the right tools and proactive approach. Biometric Security Systems, considered robust, also come under the threat of this AI-backed technology. To address the rising security risks caused by Deepfake technology, AI-powered detection tools, improved authentication protocols, and public awareness campaigns to safeguard against virtual destruction across organisations. In addition, a right detection plan should include educational, technological, and legislative strategies and the support of government and international organisations.

Mitigating Abnormal Effects of Deepfake Technology

The havoc caused by the Deepfake technology wrecked governments, militaries, consumers, and organisations globally. In the case of organisations, the reputation is largely disrupted as misinterpretation of the CEO could damage any enterprise’s credibility. Industry leaders need to work on developing proactive mitigation plans and levelling up cybersecurity. Machine learning should be used to detect Deepfake algorithms for subtle facial movement and light reflections, which are often overlooked by Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs). There is also a need to emphasise multi-factor and multi-modal authentication, including behavioural biometrics, which are difficult to replicate with Deepfake technology.

A Future Outlook Amid Risks and Challenges by Deepfake

Recently, the cyberattack cases by Deepfake Technology focused the attention of industry leaders on renewing detection tools and security protocols. In an evolving digital world, a fight against AI-backed threats requires government and industry leaders to collaborate. The biggest question for everyone here is not about whether we can completely eliminate the threat caused by technologies like Deepfake but how we adapt and implement strategies to mitigate it effectively.

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