The speed at which artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing is astounding, and with it comes innovation, but at what expense?
A Chinese financial employee at a large multinational corporation was allegedly duped into sending over R476 million to fraudsters after attending a video conference with a deepfake chief financial officer (CFO) and several co-workers.
A deepfake is a video of a person in which their face or body has been digitally changed so that they appear to be someone else, and is generally used intentionally to propagate false information or con victims.
According to police in Hong Kong, the worker first received an email from the company’s UK-based CFO requesting that the huge sum of money be sent.
The worker was sceptical at first, suspecting a phishing scam.
However, their concerns were alleviated when they were asked to a video conference with the CFO and many other co-workers that they recognised.
They proceeded to send the funds to the scammers.
“They used deepfake technology to imitate the voice of their targets reading from a script during a multi-person video conference,” said Chinese authorities.
The duped employee said that corporate personnel on the call seemed and sounded like actual individuals. But in retrospect, the persons on the phone only provided instructions before suddenly terminating the conference and did not engage with them.
The high-stakes scam was only detected after the employee inquired with the head office about the transaction, only to discover that no one had a clue of it.