Deepfake technology refers to the creation of videos, images or sound bites that have been manipulated by artificial intelligence to closely resemble the likeness of real people.
It’s known as a type of “synthetic media” due to its ability to produce strikingly realistic simulations that are sometimes difficult to discern from the real thing.
Having only been around since 2018, deepfakes are a fairly new type of technology that were originally used mostly by amateur coders and hobbyists.
However, as this new tech has evolved, it’s increasingly prevalent in numerous fraud and cybercrime trends — about which business leaders should be aware.
How Does Deepfake Technology Work?
Deepfakes are a product of artificial intelligence technology, which has developed rapidly over the last few years. More specifically, the term “deepfake” refers to “deep learning,” a subset of AI.
Deep learning algorithms operate by analyzing large sets of data and mining for patterns within them. In the context of deepfakes, these algorithms are mining specifically for patterns in human characteristics such as facial expressions, voice pitches and tonalities.
The more data fed into the algorithm, the more accurately it can identify the unique, minute patterns and characteristics of a real person. The result is a highly realistic image or video that you might mistake for the real thing.
How Will Deepfakes Impact Business?
While deepfake technology is still in its early stages, there’s already growing concern over its implications for businesses and many aspects of public life: the cost of a deepfake scam was projected to exceed $250 million in 2020 alone.
There are a growing number of instances where cybercriminals have exploited deepfake technology for financial gain, devastating businesses financially. Even worse is the potential it has for not only financial ruin, but brand and reputational ruin as well.
One of the biggest challenges we currently face is the fact that deepfakes are relatively easy to create. In the post-COVID-19 era of remote workforces, the threat is only heightened.
With more of the global workforce connecting to company servers from home — and often without the necessary security precautions — the opportunity for cybercriminals and hackers to exploit these vulnerabilities is significantly greater.
How to Defend Against Deepfake Threats
While deepfake technology certainly isn’t the first of its kind to make a splash in the online world, business leaders should prepare for the reality that this form of technology is growing more sophisticated and complex by the day.
Like any cyber-related risk, defense always begins with proper awareness and education across the entire company.
A commitment to educating your workforce on how to recognize potential deepfakes, and having a protocol in place to handle them, will be a critical step in securing organizations against the threat of this burgeoning form of tech.
Courtesy of pandasecurity.com, see this helpful infographic:
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“A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.”