How Deepfakes Are a Risk to Your Business

You’ve probably seen deepfakes on your social media at some point, but did you know they can be a cyberthreat to your business?

Deepfakes aren’t just entertaining content and with the right skills and implementation, they can cost you money, data, and even your company reputation!

Watch the video below and read below to find out how deepfakes can affect your business and what to do next.

What are Deepfakes?

Deepfakes are images, audio, or videos created by AI to mislead you.

While it might sound intimidating and exceedingly difficult to create deepfakes with, it’s not as hard as you think: many technologies today use some form of AI in everyday computing!

For deepfakes, it’s as simple as downloading an app and then reposting it on your social media of choice. There’s even accounts dedicated to making deepfakes of celebrities, like this TikTok account making deepfakes of Tom Cruise:

@deeptomcruise High and tigh then… eyebrows ✂️ #footloose ♬ Footloose - Kenny Loggins

How Can Deepfakes Affect Your Business?

While accounts like the above use the technology for entertainment, criminals use deepfakes to steal money!

For example, in 2021 a bank lost $35 Million to a group of thieves and their elaborate social engineering scam that used deepfaked audio.

Social Engineering is just one of a few ways deepfakes can be used against you: scams and hoaxes can ruin your reputation, automated disinformation attacks relay false or even fraudulent information, even identity theft poses a risk to you as an individual!

We’ll explain a little bit about how deepfakes are used in each method and lastly what you can do to protect yourself.

Scams + Hoaxes

As you saw above, with enough effort, it’s possible to impersonate anyone on the planet.

Like Ex-president Barack Obama.

Of course, it’s a deepfake and not ACTUALLY Obama, but the video, done by Buzzfeed and Jordan Peele, brings to light the importance of discernment in today’s age of technology and media.

The video has Jordan giving a great message:

Moving forward, we need to be more vigilant with what we trust from the internet

– Jordan Peele

Now imagine a deepfake was created to pose as someone from your company and was saying whatever comes to mind.

What would happen if your current clients or customers saw that deepfake? What about your prospects? How would you try to disprove the video?

Scams and hoaxes are detrimental to your reputation with good reason: they can easily spread false information and it becomes difficult to disprove them. 

Automated Disinformation Attacks

Automated disinformation attacks are the intentional dissemination of false information with the end goal of misleading, confusing, or manipulating an audience.

They tend to focus on conspiracy theories, social topics, or political issues but can be weaponized against your business.

For example, take a look at this deepfake of Mark Zuckerberg:

While we have a broader perspective and contextual understanding that this is a deepfake, watching a video like this for the first time would throw you in for a loop!

Imagine you see the founder of a company on video, and they start talking about their company and what they stand for but it’s the opposite of what you’ve come to know from them!

Like the previous method, automated disinformation attacks can affect your business and personal reputation.

Identity Theft

The most direct use of deepfakes is in identity theft: someone creates false documents and then generates deepfake models of your face or voice and then impersonates you.

The cybercriminals will create accounts, sign up for credit cards, or purchase products in YOUR name!

Social Engineering

In 2019 a UK CEO was tricked into sending 220,000 Euros because he received a phone call from what he thought was an executive from their parent company. It was a deepfaked audio. 

If you didn’t know, social engineering is, “actively deceiving someone to manipulate them into giving sensitive information or money”.

You’ve dealt with other forms of social engineering in your day-to-day, like phishing emails.

Cybercriminals are an unfortunate part of our everyday lives now, but with the rise of deepfake technology, there will be more intricate attempts to infiltrate your business and steal your information!

Signs of Deepfakes

The best way you can protect your business right now is to be cautious of both video and audio deepfakes.

Video deepfakes

While difficult to identify, video deepfakes have some tell-tale signs:

Unnatural eye movements

abnormal skin colors

unnatural facial expressions

facial morphing

inconsistent facial positions

odd lighting or discoloration

Unnatural body shape or hair

bad lip-syncing

Lack of blinking

Audio Deepfakes

Audio deepfakes are much harder to identify. Instead of trying to verify an audio deepfake, we recommend you stay vigilant as you work:

Move through steps slowly and carefully

Make sure all information checks out

Don’t rush to get through things

Don’t work on autopilot!

Apply these tricks to ALL interactions with technology, not just when looking for deepfakes!

Deepfakes Aren’t Just Your Concern

We know that deepfakes are a rising cybersecurity and that they can be used to take advantage of you.

While watching for clear signs of a deepfake is helpful, it is infinitely better to be proactive in your cybersecurity approach than reactive. That’s why we stress the importance of caution and vigilance in everything you do!

But you can only protect so much on your own for so long. That’s why you need a technology partner, to lessen that burden on you!

If you’re wondering if your company is at risk, or if you’re ready to increase your data protection then please get in touch. At Clearbridge Business Solutions, we’re cybersecurity experts and passionate about helping you do your best work by keeping your data safe.


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