AI Explained

Jul 25, 2022

Why Deepfakes Are More Dangerous Than Ransomware

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In the early days of connected personal computing, users and enterprises often spent a sizable chunk of change to combat computer viruses. These viruses are not gone by any stretch of the imagination, and software to combat them is still a multi-billion-dollar industry. Yet with new technological advances over the last decade-plus came new, more terrifying ways for hackers to infect individual computers or entire systems while extorting money out of owners.

Commonly known as “ransomware,” this type of malware allows malicious entities to hold computers, their data, or entire networks hostage in exchange for a ransom payment (typically in cryptocurrencies). This can impact an individual user all the way up to a utility company for an entire city, preventing any access to much-needed devices and data unless a ransom payment is made.

While ransomware continues to appear in the news and on devices with an increased frequency, and its impact is more severe each time, it is nowhere near as scary and intrusive as the impact and terror brought on by the use of deepfakes.

Social Engineering In Today’s Modern Internet

Ransomware is apparent. If your device or network is impacted, it lets you know that you cannot access your data without paying the ransom defined by the perpetrator. It is exploitative and highly illegal, and can often target less fortunate individuals, compounding already-growing monetary problems.

Deepfakes are often the furthest thing from apparent. Though a trained or highly alert person can sometimes tell the difference between a real image, video, or audio clip and a fake one, many deepfakes often go undetected. This can mean an interaction between an unsuspecting user and a hacker that would, to the average person, seem like an ordinary, normal interaction between people.

In this case, the hacker presenting themself as a familiar person or entity can and often does convince the user to perform whatever actions they choose. Instead of locking their computer with an apparent ransomware message, they can convince the user to do everything from share highly sensitive information to transferring large sums of money — all while posing as a familiar or friendly entity.

It is the social engineering aspect of deepfakes that make them infinitely more troubling than ransomware. Whereas ransomware often leads to a monetary transaction, the results of a targeted deepfake attack can lead to much more. For instance, deepfakes have been used by oppressive regimes to spread misinformation that could turn the tides of a war. Some hackers use deepfakes to make fairly convincing videos that ultimately lead to stolen assets. Recently, companies learned that the applicants they were interviewing for remote positions were, in fact, people posing to be others via deepfakes.

The introduction of deepfakes are comparatively newer than the malware of before. Malicious actors are only scratching the surface of what they can do to convince users to perform desired actions or believing in certain falsehoods by using convincing-enough manipulated media. With the introduction and rise of audio deepfakes, one doesn’t even need to look at a manipulated picture or video to be deceived by bad actors.

How to Combat Deepfakes

There is no single way to combat deepfakes as an individual user, as there are innumerable types of deepfakes or deepfaking methods. This is why Reality Defender works to stop deepfakes at the root of the problem, collaborating with enterprises and entities to detect and delete deepfakes on a platform level.

By shedding light on deepfakes before individual cases become a widespread problem, and by adapting to the latest deepfaking technologies before they become undetectable, Reality Defender’s proven deepfake detection is the best, first, and last solution for detecting and deflecting deepfake attacks.

To access a 30-day trial of Reality Defender, click below and start detecting deepfakes on your platform today.

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