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How AI Voice Deepfake Tools Used in Cyber Fraud Can Fool You

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The Beatles have once again delighted millions of fans around the world by releasing a new song, all possible thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), combining parts of an old recording while also improved its audio quality.

While there is joy at the band’s masterpiece, there is also a darker side of using AI to create deepfake voices and images.

Thankfully such deepfakes – and the tools used to make them – are for now not well developed or widespread, nevertheless, their potential for use in fraud schemes is extremely high, and the technology is not standing still.

What are voice deepfakes capable of?

Open AI recently demonstrated an Audio API model that can generate human speech and voice input text. So far, only this Open AI software is the closest to real human speech.

In the future, such models can also become a new tool in the hands of attackers. The Audio API can reproduce the specified text by voice, while users can choose which of the suggested voice options the text will be pronounced with.

The Open AI model, in its existing form, cannot be used to create deepfake voices, but is indicative of the rapid development of voice generation technologies.

Today, practically no devices exist that is capable of producing a high-quality deepfake voice, indistinguishable from real human speech.

However, in the last few months, more tools are being released to generate a human voice. Previously, users needed basic programming skills, but now it is becoming easier to work with them. In the near future, we can expect to see models that will combine both simplicity of use and quality of results.

Fraud using artificial intelligence is uncommon, but examples of “successful” cases are already known. In mid-October 2023, American venture capitalist Tim Draper warned his Twitter followers that scammers can use his voice in fraud schemes. Tim shared that the requests for money being made by his voice are the result of artificial intelligence, which is obviously getting smarter.

How to protect yourself?

So far, society may not perceive voice deepfakes as a possible cyber threat. There are very few cases where they are used with malicious intentions, so protection technologies are slow to appear.

For now, the best way to protect yourself is to listen carefully to what your caller says to you on the telephone. If the recording is of poor quality, has noises, and the voice sounds robotic, this is enough not to trust the information you hear.

Another good way to test your companion’s “humanity” is to ask out-of-the-box questions. For example, if the caller turns out to be a voice model, a question about its favourite color will leave its stumped, as it is not what a victim of fraud usually asks.

Even if the attacker manually dials and plays back the answer at this point, the time delay in the response will make it clear that you are being tricked.

One more safe option is also to install a reliable and comprehensive security solution. While they cannot 100 percent detect deepfake voices, they can help users avoid suspicious websites, payments, and malware downloads, by protecting browsers and checking all files on the computer.

“The main advice at the moment is not to exaggerate the threat or try to recognise voice deepfakes where they don’t exist. For now, the available technology is unlikely to be powerful enough to create a voice a human would not be able to recognise as artificial.

“Nevertheless, you need to be aware of possible threats and be prepared for advanced deepfake fraud becoming a new reality in the near future,” comments Dmitry Anikin, Senior Data Scientist at Kaspersky.


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E-Business

CrediCorp Partners FintechNGR to Drive Consumer Credit Initiative

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Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CrediCorp), has partnered Fintech Association of Nigeria (FinTechNGR) to drive consumer credit scheme initiative through a robust payment platform that would be provided by members of FinTechNGR.

Speaking at a Social Meet in Lagos, organised by FinTechNGR, with the theme: “Augmenting the Future, AI, Credit and Transformation of Nigerian Finance,” the Chairman, CrediCorp Board of Directors, Aderemi Abdul-Bojela, said members of FinTechNGR would have specific roles to play in the partnership, in the areas of providing robust platform for money transfer, technology evaluation, among others.

“Today, CrediCorp is engaging with members of FinTechNGR in a social interactive gathering to discuss collaboration and support for the growth of Consumer Credit Corporation in Nigeria. We want to interact to understand how technology will drive the crediCorp initiative in Nigeria and also to understand the role that members of FinTechNGR will play in all of these initiatives around CrediCorp,” Abdul-Bojela said.

Describing the partnership as a welcome development that will enhance savings culture among Nigerians, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of FinTechNGR, Dr. Babatunde Obrimah, said: “FinTechNGR is an enabler of technology advancement in Nigeria. We bring the players together to drive technology innovation.

“Our role in the FinTechNGR-CrediCorp partnership is to ensure that our members support the growth of consumer credit in Nigeria, by providing the relevant payment platforms for all financial transactions among the banks who are the lenders, the customers who are the burrowers and the CrediCorp who is the guarantor.”

Speaking about the benefits for Nigerians, Obrimah said the Consumer Credit Corporation in Nigeria would enhance the country’s credit culture and enable Nigerians to save and plan well with their savings. “The initiative will address inflation, help in liquidity flow, build trust in customers’ borrowing, boost credit culture and enhance the culture of savings among Nigerians,” Obrimah said.

Addressing the issue of risk and consumer trust, Abdul-Bojela said the CrediCorp has put measures in place to ensure that the banks that would be involved in lending, would be protected and guaranteed of the repayment of the loans within the CrediCorp ecosystem.

He said there would be an independent management that would ensure that the right technology is put in place to recover all monies.


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NITDA to Integrate of Digital Literacy into School Curriculum

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Kashifu Abdullahi, director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), announced plans to integrate digital literacy into Nigeria’s education system, to achieve a 70% literacy rate by 2027 and 95% by 2030.

NITDA to Integrate of Digital Literacy into School Curriculum

Kashifu Abdullah, DG, NITDA

The NITDA’s DG made the announcement on Wednesday in Abuja during a media parley.

He stated that in order to include digital literacy in the curriculum at all educational levels, from kindergarten to university, the Agency was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Education.

Abdullahi, said that this program would equip Nigerians with the digital know-how and abilities they need to succeed in the digital economy.

He emphasized that NITDA would also launch the “Digital Literacy for All Initiative” to educate Nigerians outside the formal education system and provide access to quality digital content.

Nigeria would train over two million young people in in-demand IT skills in order to become significant global outsourcing hub

NITDA is also collaborating with the Defence Headquarters and security agencies to develop digital solutions to address security concerns, including the use of drones, artificial intelligence, and other digital resources to combat banditry, abduction, and terrorism, he said.

 

According to him, the agency’s draft SRAP 2.0 plan aims to establish Nigeria as a digitally empowered nation, with a focus on innovation, national prosperity, and inclusivity.

The director general of NITDA added that, if successfully implemented, this strategy could propel Nigeria into a new phase of digital empowerment and leadership in the global digital economy.


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Experts Highlight Trusted Relationships as Key Vector

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In 2023, more than 1/5 of cyberattacks persisted for over a month, the annual Kaspersky Incident Response 2023 report has revealed, with trusted relationships emerging as one of the main attack vectors in these prolonged cases.

The report draws on the results of Kaspersky’s cyberattack investigations throughout the year, gathered when supporting organisations sought incident response assistance or when hosting expert events for their internal incident response teams.

Primary reasons of organisations approaching Kaspersky Incident Response team with service requests were encrypted files (32.8% of requests), suspicious activities (31%), data leakage (20%), and also included non-authorised accesses (3%), service unavailability (3%) and money theft (1.6%).

Among initial attack vectors of the investigated incidents were exploiting public facing application (42.4%), compromised accounts and BruteForce attacks (28.8% in total), trusted relationships (6.78%), phishing (5%), insider’s activity (3.4%).

Kaspersky Incident Response 2023 report indicates that long-lasting cyberattacks that persist for more than a month constituted 21.85% of the total, increasing from 2022 by 5.55%.

One notable trend observed in these attacks was the exploitation of trusted relationships as a primary vector. Compromises leveraging trusted relationships have occurred previously, but in 2023 their frequency increased.

As this method of attack enables threat actors to infiltrate multiple victims through a single compromised organisation, investigative teams face several additional challenges. Firstly, initially targeted organisations don’t always recognise the importance of thorough investigations and may be reluctant to cooperate.

Secondly, attacks initiated through trusted relationships often require more time to progress from the initial intrusion to the final incursion phase. Therefore 50% of these attacks lasted more than a month. A similar proportion of attacks exceeding one month were exclusively registered within the insider and phishing vectors.

“Our latest findings underscore the critical role of trust in cyberattacks. In 2023 and for the first time in recent years, attacks through trusted relationships were among the three most used vectors. Half of these incidents were discovered only after a data leak had been found.

“By exploiting trusted relationships, threat actors can prolong attacks and infiltrate networks for extended periods, posing significant risks to organisations. It’s imperative for businesses to remain vigilant and prioritise security measures to safeguard against such sophisticated tactics,” comments Konstantin Sapronov, Head of Global Emergency Response Team at Kaspersky.

 


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