The Threat of Online Fraud: Deepfakes, Impersonation

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with how bad cybersecurity threats have become for businesses these days, probably doesn’t need to be told about it. Unfortunately, even the most aware business owner might not be aware of everything that is on the other side of the internet, just waiting for an opportunity to hack in, hold data ransom, create a breach, corrupt data, or find some other way to disrupt their business.

As knowledge is the first step to creating a solid defence against any kind of threat that might be out there, we are going to concentrate on a bunch of cyberthreats today that are not commonly mentioned but pose significant threats to millions of businesses all the same.

Deepfakes

Powered by artificial intelligence, deepfakes are making the integrity of images, videos, and voice recordings slowly obsolete these days. Be it a politician’s speech or remarks from the CEO of a company, it is now possible to manipulate images, video footage and voice audio in a convincing way, with the help of artificial intelligence.

This is the kind of fraudulent creation that goes beyond minor image/audio/video manipulation, as they can make it extremely difficult for people to identify them as fakes. It’s true that deep learning has not yet reached a point where the AI can create completely unrecognisable fakes, but they are still good enough to destroy reputations for companies, politicians, and celebrities alike. It’s an incredibly malicious tool for defamation that can destroy a business’s hard-earned reputation in a matter of days, or even hours, if it goes viral.

Impersonation

Impersonation is a broader categorisation that defines a type of online fraud that implements multiple malicious tools. An impersonation fraud is one where a group of professional cybercriminals impersonate a popular and reputed business online. To appear authentic, they might utilize deepfake resources and synthetic identities, which makes it harder for even aware customers to distinguish the fraud site/social media page from the original.

They will usually choose a company that enjoys a good online reputation, but isn’t globally famous enough for the potential victims to recognise any differences, or report them as fake immediately. In most cases, such an impersonation will have one or more of the following effects:

  • The company’s clients will be stolen
  • The misled clients will be sold inferior and counterfeit products/services
  • This in turn will hamper the authentic business’s true reputation online
  • All misled clients might also become victims of malware and/or ransomware
  • The impersonators will steal private and financial data from the unsuspecting clients
  • The data/financial theft will direct all consequential actions and effects toward the original company

Staying Protected Against Business Impersonation Online

In order to stay protected against such impersonation attempts, enterprise-grade cybersecurity is necessary. For example, FraudWatch International provides protection against cyberthreats of this exact nature and more. They will detect present impersonators that might be ruining a company’s good name, inform them about it, and take action immediately after confirmation. Such a service is essential not just to detect and take down existing impersonators, but also for preventing similar future attempts before they can get a foothold online.

Once you consider the fact that these were just a few of the many, many other possible security threats, the need to adopt enterprise-grade security should begin to make more sense. After all, we did not even go into detail regarding cloud-jacking, spear fishing or AI-powered hacking attempts, which can pose direct threats of irreparable loss to all target businesses without the required protections in place.