The new type of fraud that 80% of South Africans fall for

 ·21 Jan 2024

Nearly eight in ten South Africans cannot tell the difference between a real image and an AI-generated one (deepfake).

According to the latest Kaspersky Business Digitization survey, 42% of employees surveyed in South Africa said they could tell the difference between a deepfake and a real image.

In reality, only 21% could actually tell the difference.

Kaspersky said that this leaves organisations vulnerable to scams that use deepfakes, such as fake videos and images, to defraud people.

For example, cybercriminals can use a fake video of a CEO requesting an EFT to steal corporate funds. 55% of employees said that their company could lose money due to deepfakes.

Cybercriminals can also use deepfakes to spread false information and manipulate public opinion.

A deepfake of Elon Musk

“Even though many employees claimed that they could spot a deepfake, our research showed that only half of them could actually do it. It is quite common for users to overestimate their digital skills; for organisations, this means vulnerabilities in their human firewall and potential cyber risks – to infrastructure, funds, and products,” said Dmitry Anikin, Senior Data Scientist at Kaspersky.

“Continuous monitoring of the Dark Web resources provides valuable insights into the deepfake industry, allowing researchers to track the latest trends and activities of threat actors in this space. This monitoring is a critical component of deepfake research which helps to improve our understanding of the evolving threat landscape.”

Kaspersky recommended the following to protect from deepfakes:

  • Check the cybersecurity practices in place in your organisation – not only in the form of software but also in the form of developed IT skills.

  • Boost the corporate “human firewall”: ensure employees understand what deepfakes are, how they work, and the challenges they can pose. Have ongoing awareness and education drives on teaching employees how to spot a deepfake. 

  • Use good quality news sources. Information illiteracy remains a crucial enabler for the proliferation of deepfakes.

  • Have good protocols like ‘trust but verify.’ A sceptical attitude to voicemail and videos will not guarantee people will never be deceived, but it can help avoid many of the most common traps.

  • Be aware of the key characteristics of deepfake videos to look out for to avoid becoming a victim: jerky movement, shifts in lighting from one frame to the next, shifts in skin tone, strange blinking or no blinking at all, lips poorly synched with speech, digital artefacts on the image, video intentionally encoded down in quality and has poor lighting.

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