Deepfakes: What are they and what you should know

Computers and computer software are getting more and more advanced as time goes on. But, that’s no surprise, right? Modern media (movies, television, and social) have relied on computer-generated characters, sets, and facial overlays to create environments that, otherwise, wouldn’t be practical or possible at all. These modern advancements in movie sets, and productions all-together, are ultimately indistinguishable from reality.

With the recent advancements in facial mapping and artificial intelligence (AI), deepfake technology has been trending around the globe.

What is a Deepfake?

Deepfakes are AI-powered fake media created when artificial intelligence is programmed to replace one person’s likeness with another in recorded video.

Dave Johnson, 08.10.2022, Business Insider

How are deepfakes used?

It has also become a common practice for Snapchat, Facebook/ Instagram, and TikTok users around the globe. These advancements in digital media aren’t the sources of threats; however, the technology behind the cinematic and social facial distortions is essentially the same.

Certain malicious groups, with more advanced artificial intelligence and better technology to build hyper-realistic personas, may use the technology to create video or audio messages that appear to be U.S. Presidents, CEOs, or even credible financial institutions. Their goal? To spread misinformation or mine your personal information.

Not all deepfakes pose threats to government or your pocket-book. In fact, a fair majority of the deepfakes produced today are used as humorous or satirical content. That doesn’t mean, however, that they aren’t still real threats.

How do we combat deepfakes?

As of today, there are quite a few companies, a number of them start-up companies, focusing on utilizing technology to identify and dispose of deepfake videos and other media. This is extremely important work, as deepfakes only get more and more realistic.

Social media platforms are offering prizes via ‘Deepfake Detection Challenges’ to combat the issue. Facebook started a challenge that was focused primarily on the creation of new ways to identify deepfakes or other manipulated media. The competition featured a number of prizes, the largest being $500,000.

What can I do to combat deepfakes?

The best thing any of us can do to combat deepfake content is to be aware that it exists, question the origin of the content, look for inconsistencies in the audio or video that is present in the content, and report any content that doesn’t seem like it makes sense or adds up.

Host a Cybersecurity Training Event. Educating the community around you on this issue and potential attacks on their business or personal lives is immensely valuable.

Deepfake Examples: