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    Hong Kong financial institution loses $25.6 million to deepfake scam

    Tech
    By 

    Last updated: February 5th, 2024 at 12:48 UTC+01:00

    AI might yet prove to be beneficial for humanity but we continue to be reminded of the risks stemming from its misuse. Artificial intelligence technology is routinely used to create deepfakes, videos and audios generated using publicly available source material, in attempts to scam unsuspecting victims.

    One such unsuspecting victim was a finance employee at an unnamed financial institution in Hong Kong. The employee was tricked into remitting $25.6 million to scammers who were using deepfake videos of the company's CFO and other executives in a video conference call.

    AI deepfakes used to scam $25.6 million from a Hong Kong multinational

    Hong Kong police said that scammers had used deepfake technology, possibly through publicly available video clips of the participants, to trick the victim. The worker was initially approached over email by someone acting as the company's UK-based chief financial officer and became suspicious as it felt like a phishing attempt since the email asked for secret transactions.

    To build trust, the scammers asked the worker to attend a video call where deepfake versions of the CFO and other participants looked and sounded like the actual people. A sense of urgency was then created on the video call and the employee was instructed to make 15 wire transfers totaling $200 million Hong Kong dollars ($25.6 million) to five different bank accounts. The call then ended abruptly.

    Since the worker now believed that everyone on the call was real, the transfers were made but when they followed up on the request internally a week later, the employee then found out that it had all been part of a scam. Six people have been arrested so far in connection with the crime.

    This goes to show that even as the world embraces AI and the public is urged to experience what these incredible technologies can do, it's now more important than ever before to trust, authenticate, and verify.

    Tech Artificial Intelligence

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