Deepfake Video Scams – How To Protect Your Business

deepfake video scam

Have you ever found yourself on a video call, wondering if the person on the other end is truly who they claim to be? If not, you’ll probably soon be. Welcome to the world of deepfake video technology, where seeing is not always equal to believing. For individuals, freelancers, solopreneurs, and business owners alike navigating this landscape is more important than ever.

With the development of LLM and GenAI, deepfake videos – recorded or in real-time – are not sci-fi stuff anymore. They’re here, they’re unsettlingly convincing and represent a serious security threat. Here’s a new digital dilemma: your “boos” video calls you to ask for sensitive information. Should you provide it? Recent stories show that you should think twice.

In this piece, we’re diving deep into the heart of deepfake scams. I’m exploring how these digital deceptions are crafted, the threats they pose to your business, and, most importantly, how you can shield yourself and your team from falling victim to them.

What is a deepfake video?

Let’s take a closer look at deepfake technology, a significant development in artificial intelligence that leverages machine learning algorithms. These algorithms analyze vast amounts of visual and auditory data to learn how to mimic human appearances and voices with high precision. The process involves feeding a neural network with large datasets of facial images to train it to recognize different facial expressions and movements. This training allows the creation of video and audio recordings where individuals appear to say or do things they have never actually said or done.

In professional settings, deepfakes can be used for realistic simulations and training videos, such as creating virtual scenarios for emergency response training without the need for live actors. Additionally, in customer service, companies might deploy this technology to generate personalized video messages using a CEO’s likeness without their actual involvement in each communication.

The potential misuse of deepfake technology poses substantial risks, especially in realms like politics. Fabricated video could influence public opinion, or in business, where a fake video could damage a company’s reputation or manipulate stock prices. For individuals, the personal impact can be devastating—imagine a scenario where someone’s likeness is used without consent, leading to significant personal and professional consequences.

The risks of deepfake scams

Deepfake technology presents significant challenges, particularly for small businesses where trust plays a critical role. Trust builds and maintains relationships with clients, partners, and employees, but a well-crafted deepfake can destroy this almost instantly. On the financial front, the implications are equally severe. For instance, a business owner could be deceived into transferring substantial sums to a fraudster’s account under the guise of paying a legitimate invoice. Alternatively, manipulated leaks of supposed confidential information could lead to drastic drops in stock prices, impacting the business financially before the truth even comes to light.

The legal consequences of deepfakes can also be daunting. If a deepfake falsely shows someone engaging in illegal or unethical behavior, it can initiate complex legal challenges. The person or business depicted would need to engage in potentially prolonged and expensive legal battles to clear their name. These scenarios highlight the necessity for businesses to understand the risks associated with deepfake technology fully and develop strategies to mitigate these risks effectively, ensuring they maintain their reputation and operational stability in an increasingly digital landscape.

How to spot a fake video

Not easy! Spotting a deepfake might feel like finding a needle in a digital haystack. But in some cases, some signs can help us separate fact from fabricated fiction. Here’s your mini-guide to becoming a deepfake detective:

  1. The Devil’s in the Details: Keep an eagle eye on the details. Does the lighting seem off? Are the facial expressions a tad too rigid? Sometimes, it’s the little inconsistencies that give the game away.
  2. Lip-Sync: Watch the lips. If they’re out of sync with the audio, you might be dealing with a fake. Sometimes video and audio are desynchronized in authentic videos too, this is something to keep in mind.
  3. Blink and you’ll miss it: Humans blink, often without noticing. If your on-screen counterpart is pulling off a staring contest worthy of a world record, it’s time to raise an eyebrow.
  4. Background: No, not that background check! Look at the video’s background. Glitches, odd shadows, or scenes that seem too static can be red flags waving at you.
  5. Trust Your Gut: This is probably the most important. If something feels off, it probably is. Our intuition is finely tuned to human nuances, so if your gut’s raising alarms, listen.

In the vast ocean of content on the internet, it’s better to be skeptical than to become a victim of deception.

How to defend against deepfake video

Not many years ago cybersecurity meant firewalls and antivirus. Now, cybersecurity for businesses is much more. It’s defending digital assets (wherever they are located), ensuring privacy, and protecting digital identities and reputations. Deepfakes are here to stay so here are some strategies to protect yourself and your organization:

Establish a Verification Process: Define a verification process for sensitive requests received via digital communication. If an inquiry comes unexpectedly, follow up through a different communication channel to confirm the request’s authenticity.

Educate and Train: Regularly educate and train staff on the existence and dangers of deepfake technology. Awareness is the first step in prevention.

Secure Communication Channels: Use secure, encrypted communication channels for sensitive conversations. Consider using authentication mechanisms (even simple conference PINs will help) or digital signatures that are harder for scammers to replicate.

Critical Thinking: Always approach unsolicited requests, especially those involving sensitive information, with a healthy dose of skepticism. Are “familiar” people acting odd? Do they ask atypical questions?

By adopting these strategies, we can counter the tide of deepfake deception, safeguarding our businesses and our community. For solopreneurs and small business owners, this means not just reacting to the deepfakes we see today but also anticipating the future.

Concluding thoughts

As AI technology matures it becomes evident that is a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. From creating content to reducing operational tasks, GenAI is like having an extra pair of hands. It’s exciting stuff for anyone running their show or steering a small business. The potential for growth, innovation, and connecting with our customers in new ways is massive.

But, there are pitfalls too. It enables old and new tricks, deepfakes being just one of them. It’s easy to create videos that can make it look like someone said or did something they never did. The chaos that a deepfake video can cause is serious. That’s why, while we’re diving into all the cool stuff GenAI can do, we can’t lose sight of the need to keep things legit and safe. Businesses are built on trust, and it’s on us to keep that solid, no matter how fancy the tech gets.