Deepfakes increasingly used in cyberattacks

Deepfakes are growing in popularity, according to the latest report from VMware, provider of cloud and virtualization solutions . The study, conducted among 125 cybersecurity and incident response (IR) professionals, shows a 13% increase in cyberattacks carried out by this vector during the year. Two-thirds of the experts surveyed said they had encountered them.

These multimedia contents diverted by artificial intelligence, known as deepfakes, had originally spread in the pornographic industry before gaining the ground of entertainment, art, politics… Over time and technological advances, it has become more and more difficult to distinguish the fake image from the authentic image. Deepfakes become weapons.

Last March, a video showed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky surrendering to Russian forces. Before being contradicted by the protagonist himself, the deepfake interfered in geopolitical events foregrounds.

Identity theft

Cyberattacks via deepfakes are mainly perpetuated by email (78%) and in video format (58%). Mobile messaging takes second place on the podium. Very often, the correspondent misleads the recipient by sending a message which appears to come from a known source and to formulate a legitimate request.

Changes in work have also brought new platforms that are ripe for cyberattacks, such as meeting apps and business collaboration tools. Deepfakes primarily target the IT sector, followed by finance and telecommunications, for scam purposes.

Cyberattacks via deepfakes are mainly perpetuated by email (78%) and in video format (58%). Mobile messaging takes second place on the podium.

The FBI had alerted, at the end of June, of the rise of “deepfakes and theft of personal data (PII) in order to apply for teleworking positions” by impersonating someone’s identity. Some hackers also seek to infiltrate professional emails, using deepfakes, in order to make large money transfers. According to the FBI, these attacks represented a sum of 43 billion dollars (41.5 billion euros) between June 2016 and December 2021.

Cyberwar in Ukraine

More generally, just as the pandemic had led to an increase in cyberattacks, the war in Ukraine is increasing the digital offensives . Overall, VMWare is indeed seeing an overall growth in cyberattacks, with 65% of professionals surveyed for the study saying that these have increased on the fringes of the conflict.

“Ukraine is not the first cyber war… But it is the first major conflict involving large-scale cyber operations,” noted James Andrew Lewis, vice president and director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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Deepfakes increasingly used in cyberattacks


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