Politicians deceived by deepfake on Zoom on multiple occasions

Politicians deceived by deepfake on Zoom on multiple occasions

The increase in processing capabilities and the use of Artificial Intelligence has caused a sudden spread of deepfakes, in practice the possibility of applying and adapting faces (and more) on other people's bodies. While this ploy was quite obvious at first, as technology has progressed it has come to the point that sometimes you have to be really careful to distinguish fact from fiction.

Obviously, this has caused some concern on the part of various institutional bodies, since, potentially, anyone could make another person say (or do) what they want and, most likely, many would fall for it. For example, such operations could be used to revenge porn, ruin a person's reputation, or have a politician say things he doesn't really think about to cause riots or confuse his groups of supporters.

Just recently , it seems that some Estonian and Dutch MPs have been convinced that they had a conversation via Zoom with Leonid Volkov, a Russian politician in charge of the staff of Alexei Navalny's 2018 presidential election campaign, when it was all false. It is not yet known whether, in addition to modifying his own face, the deepfaker tried to make his voice as close as possible to Volkov's or used recordings, for example from interviews, to compose the sentences.

The details are scarce but, according to this article, probably the purpose of all this was to get the MPs to say that they want to support the Russian opposition with a large amount of money. Furthermore, we do not know how the politicians came into contact with this person and we have not made inquiries to confirm that the contact was real.

In any case, online it is always better to verify the information and not to blindly trust what you are seeing / hearing, especially in the future. Fortunately, several companies are already working on different ways to unmask these "deepfakes", but this does not exclude that several people, perhaps not particularly polite from this point of view, may fall into the trap.

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