The FBI warns of deepfakes, and Tom Cruise's fake video producer responds
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned companies that malicious actors could leverage the synthetic content of deepfakes in cyber attacks within the next 12 to 18 months.
The bureau argues that deepfakes could be used to influence political processes and companies. The warning came in a private industry notice, known as "PIN", that was sent to companies across the United States.
This warning is the first regarding deepfakes technology, which is the collection of several media using artificial intelligence or machine learning, and comes amid a growing awareness of the rapid spread and potential dangers of disinformation through media sources that distort facts on the ground.
The fake videos were of Tom Cruise as he appeared to be playing golf, walking into a store and performing a magic trick. The videos quickly spread quickly, signaling the arrival of the era of what the FBI calls "impeccable fraud."
However, as we live in a world that anyone can handle with deepfakes, the process of regulating sophisticated and specialized AI drivers is more difficult than it appears.
Chris Ohm, the developer of several Tom Cruise videos and a specialist in film technology, thinks the threat of deepfakes is exaggerated.
"You can't do it just by pressing a button," Ohm said in a report for The Verge. "This is important, this is a message I want to tell people about."
According to this specialist, Tom Cruise's deepfakes took weeks of work, using the open-source Deep Face Lab algorithm along with other more popular video editing tools.
But the FBI does not agree with Ohm. According to the agency's notification, foreign actors are already using synthetic content in their impact campaigns. In addition, the office believes that AI-assisted media with disinformation will be increasingly used by "foreign and criminal cyber actors for phishing and social engineering crimes."
Token phishing is when a deceptive or malicious person sends e-mail messages that appear to be from a trusted sender, to encourage the user to send sensitive information or to grant access to private networks.
The FBI believes that "actors" in Russian, Chinese and Chinese languages are already using synthetic profile pictures to hide fake accounts on the Internet as part of foreign advertising campaigns.
The actors - whose origins are still unknown - pretended to be "journalists" - as the Federal Office says - via fabricated profile pictures and pushed for fake articles, which the media later picked up and published.
Then the FBI argued that malicious cyber actors would do more than just propaganda campaigns on behalf of foreign parties, but also use synthetic media and deepfakes to launch attacks on the private sector.
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