May 30, 2024 | Blog | 5 minutes

Deep Fakes: Playground for Fraudsters? 

Seema Karwa

Head of Sales - India

Imagine a world where your favourite actor delivers a stunning performance in a movie they never actually filmed, or a bank executive authorizes a massive transfer they've never heard of. This world isn't a scene from a sci-fi movie-it's our current reality. The rise of deep fake technology opens the door to alarming possibilities. I am sure you must have come across at least one of the examples stated below which were in recent news - 

  • Scarlett Johansson's Voice by OpenAI: Recently, OpenAI demonstrated a deep fake of Scarlett Johansson's voice. While it raised eyebrows, it also highlighted the potential for voice cloning in dubbing films, creating virtual assistants with celebrity voices, and personalizing customer experiences. However, it's worth noting that Scarlett Johansson expressed deep concern and displeasure regarding this unauthorized use of her voice. 
  • Mark Zuckerberg Deepfake by British Artists: Two British artists created a deepfake video of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in which he appeared to talk to CBS News about the "truth of Facebook and who really owns the future." This video was widely circulated on Instagram and went viral. 
  • University of Washington's Deepfake of President Barack Obama: Researchers at the University of Washington posted a deepfake of President Barack Obama, making him say whatever they wanted. This demonstrated the potential for misuse, showing how such technology could create a threat to world security by making fake communications appear real. 

Let’s go back to drawing board & understand more. And understand what kind of misuse is happening specific to BFSI industry.  


What Are Deep Fakes? 

Deep fakes, a blend of "deep learning" and "fake," use artificial intelligence to create highly realistic but fabricated audio, video, and images. These manipulations can make people appear to say or do things they never did, leading to both fascinating and frightening scenarios. The creation process involves collecting high-quality data of the target person, training AI models like Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) on this data, fine-tuning the generated content to match the target’s specific features and mannerisms, and rendering the final polished video or audio, making it nearly indistinguishable from genuine recordings. 

Deep fakes use artificial intelligence to create highly realistic but fabricated audio, video, and images. While the technology has potential applications in the entertainment industry, such as resurrecting legendary actors for new movies or dubbing films in multiple languages, it raises significant ethical and security concerns. The misuse of deep fakes can lead to serious consequences, such as spreading misinformation, violating privacy, and undermining trust. 


Deep Fakes and BFSI Frauds: A Growing Concern 

While the creative world sees an array of opportunities, the BFSI sector is on high alert. Deep fakes pose significant threats, from identity theft to elaborate scams. Here’s how: 

Voice Phishing Scams: Scammers can use deep fakes to clone the voices of CEOs or other executives, instructing employees to transfer funds or share sensitive information. One notable case involved a UK-based energy firm's CEO who was tricked into transferring €220,000 after receiving a deep fake call mimicking his boss's voice. 

KYC Fraud: The emergence of deepfake technology poses a significant concern for KYC measures, potentially making current verification systems obsolete. As AI-generated deepfakes become increasingly indistinguishable from genuine identities, the vulnerability of KYC processes to fraudulent manipulation increases, necessitating proactive strategies to safeguard against evolving threats. 

Video Fraud: Imagine receiving a video call from a supposed bank manager, instructing you to follow certain steps to secure your account. With deep fakes, these scenarios are no longer far-fetched. 

In India, a deep fake video featuring a prominent politician was circulated, misleading the public and causing significant unrest. This incident underscores the potential for deep fakes to manipulate public perception and cause widespread disruption. 


How to Stop Malicious Deep Fakes 

Stopping malicious deep fakes requires a multifaceted approach, combining technology, policy, and public awareness. Here are some strategies: 

Technological Solutions

  • Detection Algorithms: Developing and deploying AI models that can detect the subtle inconsistencies in deep fakes. These algorithms analyse elements like lighting, shadows, and facial movements that are difficult for deep fakes to replicate perfectly. 
  • Blockchain Technology: Using blockchain to verify the authenticity of media. Each piece of content can be tagged with a digital signature that verifies its source and integrity, making it harder for fake content to be passed off as genuine. 

Regulatory Measures

  • Legal Frameworks: Governments need to establish clear laws and regulations addressing the creation and dissemination of deep fakes. This includes penalties for malicious use and protections for victims. 
  • Platform Policies: Social media and content-sharing platforms must implement stringent policies to detect and remove deep fake content. Collaborating with AI developers can enhance these platforms' ability to spot fakes quickly. 

Public Awareness

  • Education Campaigns: Public awareness campaigns can help individuals understand the risks associated with deep fakes and learn how to spot them. This includes recognizing signs like unnatural facial movements, inconsistent lighting, and audio-visual mismatches. 
  • Media Literacy: Enhancing media literacy so that people can critically evaluate the content they consume. This includes understanding how deep fakes are made and recognizing potential motives behind their creation. 


Deep Fakes and Security Risks 

As deep fakes become more advanced, it's crucial to balance their potential for innovation with the need for security. In sectors such as BFSI, they pose a significant risk. Strong measures are necessary to combat this threat. Without them, the consequences could be severe. Prioritizing security over innovation is essential to protect against the dangers of deep fakes. 


The Future of Deep Fakes 

The future of deep fakes is alarming. While they can be used for creative and educational purposes, the risks to security and privacy are significant. Deep fakes can be weaponized to spread misinformation, manipulate public opinion, and commit fraud, making them a serious threat that cannot be ignored.