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Deepfake video scam: Hong Kong based company lost USD 25.6 million over video conference call

The company employees in the call looked and sounded like real people the targeted employee recognised. They followed instructions given during the meeting and made 15 transfers totalling HK$200 million and $25.6 million to five Hong Kong bank accounts.

Edited By: Saumya Nigam @snigam04 New Delhi Published on: February 05, 2024 13:09 IST
deepfake, tech news
Image Source : FILE Deepfake video meeting scandal involving Faux CFO results in USD 25.6 million hit for company

A deepfake video conference call where a digitally recreated avatar of the chief financial officer (CFO) ordered money transfers cost a multinational company USD 25.6 million in the first such scam. The employees at the company’s Hong Kong office were fooled by the scammers using Deepface to create digitally altered versions of the company's CFO and others in a video call where “everyone looked real”.

Everyone present on the video calls except the victim was a fake representation of real people, the South China Morning Post reported. The report states, "The scammers applied deepfake technology to turn publicly available video and other footage into convincing versions of the meeting’s participants."

Police say the case is the first known instance of scammers using deepfakes to deceive financial agencies.

“This time, in a multi-person video conference, it turns out that everyone you see is fake,” acting senior superintendent Baron Chan Shun-ching was quoted as saying.

The company employees in the call looked and sounded like real people the targeted employee recognised.

They followed instructions given during the meeting and made 15 transfers totalling HK$200 million and $25.6 million to five Hong Kong bank accounts.

Chan said, “They used deepfake technology to imitate the voice of their targets reading from a script."

Deepfake porn images of singer Taylor Swift had recently gone viral. Elon Musk-run X had banned searches for Swift that blocked queries of her name for several days following the spread of explicit, digitally altered images of her.

ALSO READ: Foxconn anticipates slight improvement in 2024, issues warning about AI chip shortage

Inputs from IANS

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