U.S. intel report warns of expanded and AI-enhanced ‘deepfakes’

FPI / September 20, 2023


Intelligence operatives have long used manipulated media to disseminate disinformation during conflict.

This image made from video of a fake video featuring former President Barack Obama shows elements of facial mapping used in new technology that lets anyone make videos of real people appearing to say things they’ve never said. / AP / File

The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), however, has taken that kind of manipulation to another level.

That level is known as “deepfake” and international intelligence services are expected to increase their use of the process in which audio and video images are manipulated by AI for use in government and private sector disinformation operations, according to a new joint intelligence report.

“Deepfakes are a particularly concerning type of synthetic media that utilizes artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) to create believable and highly realistic media,” wrote the authors of the joint report by the National Security Agency, FBI, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

The 18-page report, “Contextualizing Deepfake Threats to Organizations,” was published on Sept. 13.

Cybercriminals recently used deepfake technology to create an audio that led to the theft of $243,000 from a British company. The chief executive of a British energy company was conned into believing he had been telephoned by the chief of his German parent firm and ordered to send the money within a short period of time.

The report said recent incidents indicate “there has been a massive increase in personalized AI scams given the release of sophisticated and highly trained AI voice-cloning models.”

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