Deepfake – entertainment or weapon?

13 Apr 2021 Author: Mykhailo Stepanov

Modern blackmail and manipulation threats

Let’s watch a short video clip from the Terminator. In it, the main character learns to smile, analyzing the world around him.

Stallone really coped well with his role and smiled as if he was doing it for the first time in his life. It’s safe to say – I believe! In fact, Sylvester never appeared on the set of the Terminator, and it is impossible to find his name in the roles of the film. How then did Stallone replace the “iron Arnie”? The video above was created using a popular new technology called Deepfake.

What is Deepfake and how does it work?

The origins of Deepfake technology are in cinematography, where they use computer graphics to depict historical figures or to recreate the images of deceased actors. Previously, a large crew and fancy equipment were used, and it took years of painstaking work to create such effects. Now, anyone can “play a role” in the Terminator or any other film, you just need to have a powerful PC at home.

Deepfake technology uses machine learning at its core. Artificial intelligence analyzes the photographs of the person you want to put in a video clip and studies their emotions, facial features, and so on. Then the system “merges” the obtained data with the video, creating a product with the same high quality as in the cinema, in a matter of hours.

Is Deepfake dangerous?

It would seem that such a harmless technology couldn’t harm anyone. However, cybercriminals use it for a wide variety of purposes. They often create compromising material in order to blackmail someone for financial or other benefits.

Also, Deepfake technology can be used for more ambitious purposes: exposing the participants in a pre-election race in a bad light, creating fake statements by politicians, and so on.

How to protect yourself from Deepfake?

Countries around the world have criminalized the creation and distribution of Deepfake content that could harm someone’s reputation.

In the state of Pennsylvania, USA, a 50-year-old woman was convicted for creating a fake video in which the fellow members of her daughter’s cheerleading team used alcohol and drugs. The woman had been blackmailing teenagers for a long time.

Popular social network Facebook began collaborating with researchers from Berkeley and Oxford to automate the detection of Deepfake materials and their further blocking.

To paraphrase a well-known saying, it is necessary to remember that “law helps those who help themselves”. In order not to become a victim of psychological manipulations, we recommend using our training programme, which we have developed from many years of our experience in this field. The main goal of the programme is not just to cover typical cases of social engineering, but to show the root causes that make psychological manipulations possible. And then we show you how to eliminate these causes.

If you need to systematically protect the reputation of a famous person or reduce the risks of Deepfake for an organization or a company, have a look at our threat intelligence and response services. We will be happy to help you professionally protect yourself from sophisticated Deepfake garbage, which can seriously damage your reputation and hit your wallet.

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