With all that said, we at the DeFake Project of the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Mississippi and Michigan State University, and other researchers are working hard to be able to detect video and audio deepfakes and limit the harm they cause. There are also straightforward and everyday actions that you can take to protect yourself.
For starters, voice phishing, or "vishing," scams like the one described above are the most likely voice deepfakes you might encounter in everyday life, both at work and at home. In 2019, an energy firm was scammed out of $243,000 when criminals simulated the voice of its parent company's boss to order an employee to transfer funds to a supplier. In 2022, people were swindled out of an estimated $11 million by simulated voices, including those of close, personal connections.
What can you do?
Be mindful of unexpected calls, even from people you know well. This is not to say you need to schedule every call, but it helps to at least email or text message ahead. Also, do not rely on caller ID, since that can be faked, too. For example, if you receive a call from someone claiming to represent your bank, hang up and call the bank directly to confirm the call's legitimacy. Be sure to use the number you have written down, saved in your contacts list or can find on Google.
Additionally, be careful with your personal identifying information, like your Social Security number, home address, birth date, phone number, middle name and even the names of your children and pets. Scammers can use this information to impersonate you to banks, realtors and others, enriching themselves while bankrupting you or destroying your credit.
Here is another piece of advice: Know yourself. Specifically, know your intellectual and emotional biases and vulnerabilities. This is good life advice in general, but it is key to protecting yourself from being manipulated. Scammers typically seek to suss out and then prey on your financial anxieties, your political attachments or other inclinations, whatever those may be.
This alertness is also a decent defense against disinformation using voice deepfakes. Deepfakes can be used to take advantage of your confirmation bias, or what you are inclined to believe about someone.
If you hear an important person, whether from your community or the government, saying something that either seems very uncharacteristic for them or confirms your worst suspicions of them, you would be wise to be wary.
Matthew Wright is a professor of computing security at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He receives funding from the Knight Foundation, the Miami Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Laboratory for Analytical Sciences related to deepfakes.
Christopher Schwartz is a postdoctoral research associate of computing security at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a postdoctoral researcher with the DeFake Project, which receives funding from the Knight Foundation, the Miami Foundation, the National Sciences Foundation and the Laboratory for Analytical Sciences.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. You can find the original article here.