Deepfakes can show up in many forms, including, of course, as urgent audio messages. Be warned. Image Credit: Getty

While AI brings exciting possibilities to cybersecurity and society at large, it also poses challenges that will undoubtedly impact us. Deepfake videos and audios, unlike anything we have experienced before, are just one of the immediate areas where we have already had an impact.

Deepfakes refer to synthetic photographs, videos, and audio, and they can be used to deceive and defraud – for example, what if the ‘friend’ calling you is not even the person you think it is? Technology can alter voices, accents and even the choice of words, making you easily believe it’s the right person at the other end of the line, when it very well may not be.


This has serious implications for cybersecurity, as attackers can utilize deepfakes for social engineering campaigns, where a user or individual is tricked into performing an action such as transferring funds, revealing sensitive information, or installing a malicious application. Social engineering is based on building trust between the attacker and the victim.

Deepfake technology enables attackers to build trust more quickly and deeply, through a highly convincing impersonation that can easily deceive most.

This may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but it is happening every day, with the US Federal Trade Commission reporting that $11 million was stolen through impostor phone calls last year.

So, how can you stay safe when you can’t trust your own eyes and ears?

Vigilance is key. Be automatically wary when receiving a phone call that appears to be coming from a loved one in a panic, begging you to transfer money to their account. Take a moment to consider the situation and call your loved one on the phone number that you know belongs to them to verify the authenticity of the initial phone call.

Keep in mind that you can’t trust caller ID, as it can be spoofed to look like it is coming from an acquaintance or a trusted business.

If you are suspicious of a phone call purporting to be from a trusted organization, hang up, find the number of the organization and call them back yourself. Additionally, be mindful not to share sensitive or financial information on the phone.

Remember that trusted organizations will not ask you to provide account details, passwords or credit card information over the phone and questions like that should be red flags.

The rapid advancements in AI have brought unprecedented capabilities to businesses and individuals alike, but they have also raised concerns around the conflict between what is trustworthy. AI is impacting our ability to trust.

As we continue to tackle this paradox and create innovations that allow us to control the implications of technological advancements, we are unfortunately bound to be challenged.