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What is Deepfake Phishing?

Deepfake phishing uses AI to mimic voices or appearances in scams. Often, attackers impersonate authority figures or loved ones, tricking victims into revealing private data or sending money. As these attacks become more sophisticated, staying informed and cautious is important. Understanding and combating deepfake phishing is important for online safety.

What is Deepfake Phishing?

Deepfake phishing is a cyber attack that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create convincing fake audio or video content, impersonating a trusted individual or entity. Hackers use these deepfakes to manipulate or deceive victims into giving sensitive information or transferring funds.

This sophisticated form of phishing exploits people's trust and recognition in certain figures, such as CEOs, public officials, or family members, making the deception more believable and the attacks more effective.

Is deepfake a phishing?

Deepfake itself isn't phishing, but it can be used in phishing scams. These deepfake scams trick people by creating very realistic videos or audio clips with AI. Imagine seeing a video of your boss asking for important files or money; that's how deepfake phishing works. It's a smart trick using technology to fool people.

Staying safe means double-checking weird requests, especially about money or personal info. So, while deepfake is a tool when used in scams to trick you, it becomes a part of phishing. Always be careful and question things that seem out of place.

Defining deepfake phishing

Deepfake phishing is a cyber scam in which criminals use artificial intelligence to create fake audio or video clips that look and sound like real people. For example, they might make a video of someone you trust, like a boss or family member, asking for money or confidential information.

The goal is to trick you into believing it's real, so you do what the fake message asks. It mixes high-tech tools and classic social engineering tricks, making it harder to spot than typical scam emails or messages.

Why use deepfakes for phishing?

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Deepfakes are used for phishing because they significantly increase the effectiveness of scams by exploiting trust and familiarity. Here's why:

  • Realism: Deepfakes can create highly realistic videos or audio recordings, making the deception hard to detect. When a message appears to come from a trusted figure, like a CEO or family member, recipients are more likely to believe it and act on the request.
  • Manipulation: By impersonating trusted individuals, attackers can manipulate emotions and reactions, pressuring victims into acting quickly without questioning the authenticity of the request. This is particularly effective in urgent scenarios, such as transferring funds to prevent a supposed crisis.
  • Bypassing Traditional Security: Traditional security measures, like spam filters and email authentication, are designed to detect suspicious text-based content. Deepfakes, which are video or audio, can bypass these and reach the victim directly.
  • Exploiting Social Engineering: Deepfakes take social engineering to a new level, leveraging psychological manipulation. By seeing or hearing someone they recognize, victims are more likely to comply with fraudulent requests, such as divulging sensitive information.
  • Increasing Reach and Impact: With the spread of social media and digital communication, a well-crafted deepfake can quickly reach a wide audience, increasing the scam's potential impact. A convincing video could target multiple individuals within an organization or social circle.
  • Technological Accessibility: As AI technology becomes more accessible and user-friendly, creating deepfakes is easier and cheaper, lowering the barrier for cybercriminals to execute sophisticated phishing attacks.

Using deepfakes for phishing represents a dangerous evolution in cyber threats. Individuals and organizations must adopt more advanced security measures and raise awareness to protect against these highly dangerous deepfake scams.

How Does Deepfake Phishing Work

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Deepfake phishing can take many forms, from emails to video calls. Let's explore some of these:

Emails

An email from a deepfake can look like it's from someone you know, complete with realistic photos or signatures. The goal is to get you to click on a harmful link or share private information.

Messages

Similar to emails, these messages appear to come from friends or colleagues and ask for urgent help or information. They can arrive via any messaging platform.

Voice Messages

Deepfake technology can accurately mimic voices. You might receive a voicemail that sounds exactly like someone you trust, tricking you into believing the request or information is genuine.

Video Calls

The most advanced use of deepfakes in phishing involves video calls. Imagine receiving a call from your boss's seemingly live video feed, asking you to share confidential files. The realism can be very convincing.

Watch the video below and learn how hackers use AI and deepfakes to scam you.

Does deepfake pose a threat to my organization?

Yes, deepfakes pose a significant threat to organizations by potentially damaging reputation, causing financial loss, and damaging trust. These AI-generated fake videos or audios can mimic anyone, including your company's leaders, to trick employees or customers into revealing sensitive information or making unauthorized transactions.

We've covered real-world examples and types of these threats in our detailed article "How Deepfakes Threaten Your Business? Examples and Types." In this blog, we discuss famous deepfake instances, like manipulated speeches of world leaders or fake celebrity endorsements, showing how convincing and widespread this issue can become.

How Can Organisations Prevent Deepfake Phishing Risks

Organizations can fight back against deepfake phishing risks by taking some smart steps. Let's explore how to prevent deepfake phishing risks:

Enhancing Awareness of Artificial Media

The first step in defense is awareness. Organizations should educate their teams about the existence of deepfakes and how they might be used in phishing scams.

Training on Deepfake Detection and Reporting

Training employees on deepfake detection is significant. Employees should learn how to notice odd things in videos or audio, like weird facial movements or sounds that don't seem right. They also need to know the steps to take when they see something fishy, like who to tell right away. This kind of skill isn't just about being careful online; it's about protecting the whole organization from clever scams that can look very real.

Adding to this, social engineering simulations like vishing (voice phishing), smishing (SMS phishing), and callback voice phishing simulators can make training even better. These simulators show employees what phishing attempts might look like in real life, making them more prepared. Security awareness training helps everyone stay sharp about all kinds of online threats, not just deepfakes.

Implementing Advanced Authentication Protocols

Organizations can adopt advanced authentication methods to safeguard against deepfake phishing. This might include multi-factor authentication (MFA) or biometric verification to ensure legitimate requests.

Check Out Keepnet's Security Awareness Training

Keepnet's Security Awareness Training is designed to empower employees with the knowledge and skills needed to identify and defend against a wide range of cybersecurity threats, including phishing and deepfake scams. This comprehensive program covers essential topics such as recognizing phishing emails, understanding the risks of social engineering attacks, and learning how to respond to potential security incidents.

See some features of Keepnet’s security awareness training platform:

  • User-Friendly: Keepnet's Security Awareness Training simplifies complex cyber security topics, making them easy to understand for everyone.
  • Interactive Courses: Engaging and interactive lessons keep the learning process interesting and effective.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: The training covers a wide range of topics, including phishing, malware, and other cyber threats from 12+ different security vendors.
  • Boosts Cyber Defense: Helps build a strong first line of defense by empowering your team with the knowledge to spot and prevent cyber threats.
  • Vishing Simulator: Trains employees to recognize and respond appropriately to voice phishing attempts over the phone.
  • Smishing Simulator: Prepares team members to identify and avoid phishing attacks sent via SMS messages.
  • Callback Phishing Simulator: This tool teaches how to deal with phishing attempts that involve returning a call to a fraudulent number.
  • Email Phishing Simulator: Helps employees spot and react to phishing emails, one of the most common cyber threats.
  • QR Code Phishing Simulator: Educates on the risks associated with malicious QR codes and how to verify their authenticity before scanning.

These security awareness tools are designed to provide practical, real-world experience with various phishing tactics, equipping your team with the knowledge and skills to protect against a wide range of cyber threats. Keepnet's comprehensive approach ensures that employees are well-prepared to identify and respond to phishing attempts in any form they might take.

Watch our full product demo and see how we can help you to fight against deepfake phishing.

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You'll learn how to:
tickImplement targeted deepfake phishing simulations, preparing your team to recognize and respond to sophisticated audiovisual scams.
tickEmploy AI-driven deepfake scenarios alongside traditional phishing methods like Email, Voice, MFA, QR Code, Callback, and SMS, ensuring a comprehensive training experience.
tickUtilize dynamic, AI-powered templates that mimic real-world deepfake threats, enhancing engagement and learning effectiveness.
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