“Fake Elon Musk” and the growing risks associated with deepfakes

Audio recordings and videos imitating the voices and images of relatives and celebrities have caused many victims to fall into the trap of deepfake criminals.

A Woman Lost $50,000 to a Deepfake Elon Musk in AI Romance Scam | PetaPixel

Deepfake software for cyber criminals is very cheap 

Recently, a Korean woman lost up to 70 million won (50,770 USD) because “fake Elon Musk” called for investment. The billionaire’s image was created using deep fake technology, then stolen by the opponents. The subject took advantage of it to reach fans. To build trust, the subject was willing to make video calls, chat regularly with the victim, and give investment advice. After the victim transferred the money, this subject disappear.

This is not the first time Elon Musk’s image has been exploited. Previously, the technology billionaire had also had fake images created by a digital currency exchange called BitVex using deefake videos, to call for investment; or some people in the name of Musk donated cryptocurrency to defraud thousands of people, gaining illegal profits of up to 580,000 USD in just one week. A fake discussion of Musk about digital currency created by deepfake also helped the subject defraud 1.3 million USD.

The combination of “deep learning” and “fake” has been exploited by many actors to commit fraud. Because this technology allows the creation of “fake people” when everyone’s face and voice are easily grafted onto any content they create, giving it a real feeling.

Recently, the National Cyberspace Safety Monitoring Center (Department of Information Security, Ministry of Information and Communications), also issued a warning about deepfake technology being widely used by subjects recently. has become a threat to cyberspace in Vietnam.

Deepfake is also one of the most influential threats in the near future that Mr. Ngo Minh Hieu (Hieu PC), cybersecurity expert, founder of the Anti-Fraud Project, is worried about its influence. It. Because, on Telegram today, there are many groups selling deepfake software for cyber criminals to use at very cheap prices ranging from 20-50 USD/month. This leads to increased demand for using this technology to commit fraud.

“For example, when I look for the profile picture of my company’s CFO on social networks, this is very easy because nowadays we are all public. Then I will take his voice, it only takes 1-3 minutes to get good quality sound to be able to copy his voice from the original audio files. Using deepfake software, I can impersonate that CFO to talk to the director and request an advance payment to buy products for the company, for example…”, Mr. Hieu gave an example.

Use deepfake detection tools

Deepfake is used quite easily today because everyone publishes images and videos on social networks. Photo: TL

The expert said that there are currently some paid deepfake detection technologies, depending on whether companies want to use them or not. Because deepfake-related cyber attacks are currently not too many and not many companies are interested in it. This person believes that not this year but maybe in the next 5 years, people will begin to know more and be forced to apply.

Regarding individuals, Mr. Hieu said that normally hackers do not care much about technical issues, so when they prepare for a cyber attack using deepfake technology, they do it very carelessly and sketchily. so it’s very easy to spot.

“You see very fake skin, eyes or facial structure, you just need to pay a little attention to recognize it. But for older people, it will be more difficult to identify, I guarantee they cannot identify real or fake, so currently there are many attacks targeting these subjects.


Governments around the world have also increased awareness materials on cybersecurity, specifically for the elderly because they are vulnerable to all forms of attacks. Even when they receive fraudulent emails or messages, even if they are told to set up passwordless authentication, they still do not know how to use it,” Mr. Hieu emphasized.

Cyber ​​security experts said they were surprised because cyber criminals make money easily these days. One of the reasons comes from the user’s knowledge gap.

“There was a person in Vietnam but living in Germany, when his account was taken over by hackers to borrow money from relatives in Vietnam and they lost more than 25,000 USD in just one transaction. Hackers use fake bank accounts purchased on the black market, so it is difficult for authorities to find their whereabouts. Nowadays, everyone uses social networks, sending out a lot of information, data, sometimes sensitive information such as passwords, credit cards, PIN codes to open doors… These are vulnerabilities that hackers have. can attack,” Mr. Hieu said.

This person also recommends that people, when unusual problems occur, “should slow down a bit, at least 5 seconds”, to confirm and verify information before making any transactions or sending information. identification for anyone.

The Department of Information Security also recommends that users can use a number of applications to identify deepfake such as Intel FakeCatcher, Microsoft Video Authenticator… Especially do not provide personal information such as citizen identification card, bank account, etc. OTP code and do not transfer money to strangers via phone, social networks, or websites showing signs of fraud.

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