Deepfakes are a prime example of the emergence of synthetic media, which poses a growing challenge for users of modern technology and communication platforms. These include organisations like National Security Systems (NSS), the Department of Defence (DoD), the Defence Industrial Base (DIB), and managers of vital national infrastructure.
Synthetic media approaches provide both positive and negative potential. Although there have only been a few instances of state-sponsored bad actors using synthetic media extensively, they can end up being deadly when used by cybercriminals. For instance, the rising effectiveness and accessibility of these tactics for less experienced cybercriminals show a likely rise in their popularity and complexity.
Threats from synthetic media include a wide range of text, video, audio, and image-related technologies that have a variety of uses online and in various communication channels. Deepfakes, which use artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI and ML) to create convincing and hyper-realistic content, stand out among these concerns as being particularly unsettling.
What Are the Risks Associated with Deepfakes?
The risks associated with the improper use of synthetic media are many. These include damaging an organisation’s reputation, impersonating business executives and leaders, and utilising dishonest communications to acquire access to networks, communication channels, and sensitive information.
Numerous text, video, audio, and image-related technologies that are used in a variety of ways online and in different communication channels are among the threats posed by synthetic media. Among these worries, deepfakes stand out as being particularly unnerving. This is due to the fact that they employ artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to produce convincing and hyper-realistic material.
As per Manish Chaudhuri, CISO, Cybernetic Global Intelligence, an accredited global leader in providing top-notch cybersecurity services, the biggest dangers of using synthetic media improperly are those that falsify identities. As a result, they can get access to networks, communication channels, and sensitive data, harm an organisation’s reputation, and impersonate company executives.
The tools and techniques used to create synthetic media threats have been around for a while. Thanks in large part to improvements in processing power and deep learning, what used to take specialists days and weeks to develop using specialised software can now be accomplished in a fraction of the time with basic technical knowledge.
Additionally, the market has been flooded with a variety of free, readily available tools, some powered by deep learning algorithms, allowing the production and modification of multimedia. As a result, these openly available methods have gained popularity and become readily available tools for anyone to use. These have enabled deceptive and fraudulent operations against specific individuals and organizations. This democratisation of tools has propelled them onto the list of top risks for 2023.
In addition to the obvious worries about the propagation of false information and propaganda during times of war, deepfakes pose serious threats to national security. The US Government, the National Security System (NSS), the Defence Industrial Base (DIB), critical infrastructure companies, and countless other institutions are all subject to these dangers.
These organisations and their staff members might be vulnerable as a result of deepfake techniques and procedures. These strategies include fabricating online personas to be used in social engineering schemes, sending false text and voice messages to get around technological security measures, disseminating fake movies to spread misinformation, etc.
For skilled threat actors interested in carrying out executive impersonation, committing financial fraud, or gaining illegal access to internal communications and operating systems, many firms represent alluring targets. These threat actors are drawn to firms that possess valuable assets, sensitive information, or weak security measures. Their motivation lies in exploiting these vulnerabilities to achieve their malicious objectives while evading detection and punishment.
The Potential Impact of Deepfakes on Organisations
Deepfakes pose a significant risk for organisations due to their potential for misuse. These relate to the disinformation campaigns aimed at manipulating public opinion and disseminating false narratives related to political, societal, military, or economic matters. These deceptive tactics can lead to widespread confusion, unrest, and uncertainty among the public.
However, the risks posed by synthetic media that organisations frequently confront are beyond deceitful ploys. These dangers have the potential to compromise an organisation’s reputation, financial health, security protocols, and integrity. Notably, some of the most serious risks related to synthetic media are faced by institutions like the Department of Defence (DoD), the National Security Sector (NSS), the Defence Industrial Base (DIB), and key infrastructure entities.
How Can Organisations Combat the Threat of Deepfakes
The actions organisations can implement to combat the threat of deepfakes are the following:
- Stop executive impersonation for brand manipulation by using real-time identification verification.
2. Before drawing any conclusions, carefully consider the media’s source to avoid being impersonated for selfish financial benefit.
3. To assure accuracy and prevent impersonation efforts intended to compromise an organisation’s operations, staff, and information, hash both the original and duplicate text.
In addition, businesses should:
- Use technologies that can detect compression artefacts and inconsistencies.
2. Verify the accuracy of visual cues such as vanishing points, shadows, reflections, and others by doing stringent checks.
Consider using plug-ins to identify allegedly fake profile images.
3. To further minimise the effect of deepfake threats, it is crucial to protect high-profile individuals’ public data and include deepfake detection methods in the organisation’s training programmes.
The spurt in cybercrime, including the emergence of deepfakes, is worrying. However, organisations can strengthen their cybersecurity defences by consulting experienced global cybersecurity companies such as Cybernetic Global Intelligence. For details, you may contact 1300 292 736 or send an email to Contact@cybernetic-gi.com.