Ride the Lightning

Cybersecurity and Future of Law Practice Blog
by Sharon D. Nelson Esq., President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Deepfakes Are a Growing Threat – With Scary Consequences

August 10, 2022

CNET reported on August 8 that deepfakes are increasingly being used in cyberattacks.

Reports of cyber attacks using deepfaked audio or video rose 13% last year, according to VMware’s annual Global Incident Response Threat Report. In addition, 66% of the cybersecurity professionals surveyed for this year’s report said they had spotted one in the past year.

“Deepfakes in cyberattacks aren’t coming,” Rick McElroy, principal cybersecurity strategist at VMware, said in a statement. “They’re already here.” 

For those still unfamiliar with deepfakes, they use artificial intelligence to make it look as if a person is doing or saying things they are not. The technology went mainstream in 2019. While most deepfakes at one point involved pornography, we have learned that they can also be used to sow political upheaval.

The technology used to make deepfakes were once very easy to spot. But it has evolved. In March, a video posted to social media appeared to show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy directing his soldiers to surrender to Russian forces. It was quickly denounced by Zelenskyy but certainly proved that deepfakes could be used for political purposes.

The FBI warned recently that fraudsters have started using deepfakes to interview for remote or work-from-home jobs in information technology, programming and other software-related roles. The scammers also tried to pass along personally identifiable information stolen from someone else to pass background checks, according to the FBI’s public service announcement.

According to the VMware study, which polled 125 cybersecurity and incident response professionals, email was the top delivery method for last year’s deepfake attacks, accounting for 78% of them. That ties in with the continued rise in business-email compromise attempts, in which a cybercriminal will pretend to be someone they’re not to get their target to give them company information or pay a fake invoice.

Interestingly, 60% of those polled say they’ve seen an overall increase in cyberattacks since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. And more good news (not) ransomware attacks show no sign of abating, with more than half of those surveyed reporting they’d experienced a ransomware attack in the past 12 months.

It is a dangerous world we live in. Be careful out there!

Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., PresidentSensei Enterprises, Inc.
3975 University Drive, Suite 225Fairfax, VA 22030
Email:   Phone: 703-359-0700
Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology