Deepfake Malware Mayhem: When AI Goes Rogue and Fishes for Phish

The Ultimate Fusion of Machine Learning and Phishing Strikes - and How AI Can Help Us Counteract Them
Prompt: line drawing of a person with an empty face out of which particles are flying. A person is sitting in a black space facing a mirror. Black and white, illusion, graphic lines, abstract and minimal, visual deception
Introduction: The Two-Faced Nature of AI
Artificial intelligence is an incredible technology that has given us valuable innovations such as voice assistants and self-driving cars and the ability to watch funny cat videos effortlessly. However, this same technology can be misused and turned into a tool for causing harm, such as the deep fake scam, deepfake voice fraud, deep fake hacks, and other forms of deepfake fraud that pose a serious cybersecurity threat.
The Craft of Deepfake Trickery
Deepfakes are media files created by AI technology that can be mistaken for genuine content due to their high level of realism. They are adept at blending in seamlessly to any event, making it difficult to detect them as fake. Cybercriminals use deep fakes as a preferred tactic in phishing attacks, including the deep fake financial fraud scam, as they are highly deceptive and can easily trick their victims.
In this scenario, you receive an email from your supervisor with a video message. The video shows your supervisor’s face as he urgently requests that you transfer a large sum of money to a specific account. You believe the request to be legitimate and carry out the transfer. It later comes to light that the video was a deep fake, and you unknowingly sent the money to a skilled cybercriminal. This is a precarious situation.
The Dual Existence of AI: The Good Doctor and Mr. Cyber-Fiend
We need to recognize that while artificial intelligence has great potential to positively transform our world, it also has the power to cause immense destruction through the increasing prominence of AI-generated deepfake malware, including the deepfake voice scam and other forms of deepfake fraud.
In the CyberFame Manifesto, we delve into this contradiction, emphasizing the importance of comprehending the potential dangers and advantages accompanying generative AI-models. The Rising Value of Security in AI-Driven Software Development accentuates the necessity of addressing the Security Value Paradox using innovative technologies and methodologies. Implementing verifiable builds, verifiable state machines, zero-knowledge compilers, homomorphic encryption, formal verification, and open-source security warranties can enhance applications’ trust, privacy, and security. Combined with human expertise, these approaches promote a secure and sustainable future in AI-driven innovation, resolving the Security Value Paradox and safeguarding the software ecosystem.
In this era of AI, we must remain conscious of potential perils while actively pursuing the benefits and opportunities for good that AI presents. This includes employing AI as a formidable weapon against deepfake malware, deepfake financial fraud, and other cyber threats.
Real-World Examples: The Sinister Side of Deepfakes
Let’s explore some real-world instances of AI-generated deepfake malware at work, such as the deepfake voice scam:
A cybercriminal used a deepfake audio clip to imitate the voice of a CEO and trick a high-ranking executive at an energy company into transferring €220,000 to the criminal’s account. Another video created using an advanced technology surfaced on social media. The footage showed a famous entrepreneur promoting cryptocurrency fraud, fooling people into investing their money in a deceitful plan. We will not share a reference here, to not further promote the scammer.
Another cybercriminal used deepfake technology to impersonate a high-ranking executive and infiltrated an internal video conference call of a multinational corporation. During the conference, the attacker managed to extract sensitive company information and later sold it on the dark web, causing significant financial losses and harm to the company’s reputation.
Unleashing the Power of AI for Good: Detecting and Defending Against Deepfake Malware
To address the growing threat of advanced deepfakes, including deepfake financial fraud, we need to update our defenses. Artificial intelligence, the same technology that makes deepfakes possible, could be our solution. Here are several ways that AI could be used to help us fight against deepfake malware and fraud:
Some companies are creating AI-based tools that can accurately identify deepfake videos and audio files, including deepfake voice scams. This approach can help combat cybercriminals by utilizing their own methods against them.
With the help of machine learning, anomalies in digital communications can be detected through pattern analysis of a large amount of data. This enables the identification of potential deep fake attacks, including deepfake financial fraud, before they can cause harm.
By integrating AI into their cybersecurity strategies, organizations can enhance their ability to predict and prevent threats, including deepfake financial fraud. This advanced approach can lead to more effective risk reduction and better protection against security breaches compared to traditional methods.