An Indian multinational company based in Hong Kong has lost around Rs 207 crore ($25 million) due to a deepfake scam video call, in which the scammer impersonated the CEO, leading the employee to transfer the money to the scammer.
The call utilized deepfake technology to mimic the CEO’s voice and appearance, thereby deceiving the victim, the employee, who believed it was a real call with genuine instructions to transfer the money.
Organizations Take Action Against Lesser Threats
For such a company to fall victim to scammers demonstrates the potential risks of deepfake technology for financial fraud and scams, highlighting the importance of implementing robust security measures to differentiate the authenticity of communication, especially with video calls. The victim believes that seeing the person they are talking to is proof of the individual’s real presence, in this case, the CEO.
For such intricate and high-value operations, they must be handled with extreme accuracy. This kind of manipulation further emphasizes the role of AI and technology in scamming individuals and large corporations.
Raising awareness among employees is the company’s responsibility nowadays, including conducting training sessions monthly to sharpen the employees’ senses to the point where they can differentiate between a manipulated video call and a legitimate one. If differentiation is difficult, the focus should be primarily on the content of the video call, especially if the call is solely about transferring money without providing any work-related details. Employees should be encouraged to ask very confidential and specific questions or to message their CEO directly in such cases, doing anything that might make the scammer uncomfortable once something suspicious is detected.
India’s Ranking in Security Environment
Investigations are still ongoing, and the details of the incident, including the name of the company and the technology used, remain confidential. This event serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the need for proactive steps to mitigate deepfake threats and scams. Organizations should pay attention to reducing such significant losses.
Recently, celebrities and public figures have also become victims of deepfakes, raising privacy concerns and security issues in India. Nevertheless, India is ranked 34th out of 140 countries in terms of the security environment in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2023.
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