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The Deepfake threat: What do these scams mean for cybersecurity?

Deepfake

Today, we’re experiencing greater levels of mistrust than at any time in the past, and the news is no longer viewed as the final authority on a subject. In this milieu, Deepfakes are poised to shatter our confidence in how we absorb information.

The phrase ‘seeing is believing’ is now a very real vulnerability that can be exploited through the use of technology that can generate synthetic images or videos of people. These simulations are then used to deliver messaging targeted at achieving certain objectives.

While this sounds like something straight from an espionage thriller, Deepfake technology is now being used to undermine national security, making it a security threat with disastrous consequences – think nuclear launch codes and WWIII.

This post explores the implications of this emerging threat to the security environment and how we can navigate the future with greater confidence. 

How easily can Deepfake videos be generated?

Given that the very premise of Deepfake scams is the sophisticated modification of images and videos, is this really a wide-scale problem for governments, businesses, citizens and consumers?

The evidence certainly seems to point that way.

With easily-available apps on the market designed for this specific purpose, individuals with a certain level of skill and determination can generate simulations without too much difficulty. 

While advanced Deepfake videos or images may require Machine Learning and advanced AI to deceive users on a grand scale or shape public opinion, “shallow fakes”, as they are known, are enough to cause plenty of damage. 

Given the ease with which public opinion can be shaped by a false narrative, this type of content is a threat that can incite discord or even violence with disturbing ease. 

How equipped are we to deal with Deepfakes?

Given how sophisticated Deepfakes are becoming, detecting doctored videos and images of this nature is only going to become harder.

While relentless efforts are underway to develop digital forensics, data augmentations, and deep neural network-based solutions that can help us detect Deepfakes, we’ve not yet found the perfect solution – and are unlikely to, either. 

At present, much of our security efforts in this area will depend on the latest technology available and the understanding that all may not be as it seems. Beyond cutting-edge security technology, knowledge is another powerful weapon. Simply being aware of this threat can help people be more alert about videos or images that may not be real.

While we’re certainly not moving towards a more secure and risk-free world, being aware of this fact can de-weaponise the Deepfake threat to a certain extent. 

How can businesses deal with this type of threat?

While we become more accustomed to operating in such a precarious security environment, it’s important not to leave these vulnerabilities unaddressed.

Preparing a business for the Deepfake threat rests heavily on employee awareness and decision-making. When suspicious commands come through, verifying this information or request through alternative means is important.

In many ways, preventing Deepfake attacks may be similar to dealing with social engineering attacks

There are also a number of tools that may be able to raise red flags if they detect Deepfake technology at play. 

By choosing the right tools with the guidance of a security expert with knowledge in this area – and leveraging it intelligently within your own security strategies – you may be more equipped to respond to threats of this nature. 

It also wouldn’t hurt to address these issues with vendors and business partners and discuss how these issues can be dealt with and resolved if they arise. This can prevent damaging fallouts on the off-chance that your company is forced to deal with damaging videos or images that impact your reputation.

Address the Deepfake threat for more resilient cybersecurity strategies

Your security strategies need to be flexible and resilient enough to deal with emerging threats – specifically those posed by Deepfake technology.

Without a proper understanding of these scams and an awareness of how to deal with them, your teams are easy targets for cybercriminals who have the knowledge and tools to damage your reputation and potentially bankrupt your operations.

To better understand the threat posed by Deepfake scams to enterprise security, get in touch with our team at Triskele Labs today. 

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