AI-generated soft porn to voice cloning, here’s how tech becomes a tool for scams

Everyone by now has either heard of or in some cases even experienced some sort of scam. The common ones being basic attacks like password phishing emails or spoofed websites. Here are some examples.

Pratiksha ThayilUpdated: Friday, December 09, 2022, 04:07 PM IST
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AI-generated soft porn to voice cloning, here’s how tech becomes a tool for scams | Pixabay

Over the last decade, technology has advanced in such a way that we cannot imagine life without it. If you look from left to right, you will find n-number of things that have made your life easier. We have even started using artificial intelligence and machine learning to make our lives easier because they simplify our work and allow us to do multiple tasks simultaneously. But with this increasing popularity and use, the number of frauds has also increased.

Everyone by now has either heard of or, in some cases, even experienced some sort of scam. The common ones being basic attacks like password phishing emails or spoofed websites. But with AI, the scams get more dangerous. These scams may sound interesting, and some might even feel that a movie scene is being described, but these are true cases that people have experienced. Let's see some of the examples.

Voice Cloning

Imagine you are at work and you receive a call from your boss asking you to transfer funds urgently. It is very likely that you will transfer the funds without questioning it. But, what if that wasn't your boss and it was some scammer trying to impersonate your boss?

This is exactly what happened in 2019, when a British energy company was tricked by a scammer who was impersonating a German executive to send approximately $240,000 to a bank account.

Investigators believe that the scammers captured the voice data of the German executive and then used AI software to create the voice. AI software can be used to recreate a person's voice, unique prosody, and accent from a small audio sample. Though this is not a new scam technique or a popular technique, it can easily be expected that these scams will increase in number as such AI software is more easily available and does not require significant amounts of time or resources.

Deep Fakes

Some may remember that during the Russia and Ukraine war a video of Ukraine President Volodymr Zelesky was doing rounds on social media, where he asked the army to lay down their weapons. This was at a time when the entire country was ravaged by Russian troops. The video was uploaded on a Ukrainian news website by hackers, but it was immediately removed and debunked.

This was all thanks to deep fakes which combine voice cloning with AI-generated videos. These types of videos are also used to create compromising videos of victims and blackmail them. It can also be used to create videos asking families to transfer money. This is one of the most commonly used techniques by skilled criminals that use selfies and personal images that are readily available on the internet.

The deep fakes created by the criminals are becoming more and more harder to spot. They even have the skills to fool facial recognition technology.

AI-generated phishing

One of the most common schemes is phishing through websites and emails. Scammers use AI to create spoof websites and send out mass phishing emails that are more convincing and scalable.

Scammers have now also advanced to create personalized scams that are based on a victim's online behaviors and preferences. These AI-generated, personalised phishing emails or tweets make it more difficult to identify the scam and trap more and more people.

Recruitment fraud

Today, as the world has moved online, job postings online have become a very common occurrence. However, scammers have even entered this field and are robbing common users of their money.

These scammers post job openings online, and people are duped into giving up their money in exchange for their data and personal information. Users are asked to transfer their money to secure the job, which will later be returned to them after they begin their work. This is not just limited to regular jobs, as similar schemes are used to trap those who are seeking part time jobs.

Fake Images

This is similar to the deep fakes but they are just images. Though fake images or morphed images have been around for a long time, AI has just made it worse. The most recent example is that of Lensa AI, which creates non-consensual soft porn images if provoked. The AI can be trained to create a certain type of images due to which it creates photos like sketches, cartoons, animes and watercolors. Which means if a very well edited image with a different body and a different face is given to the app it will directly create an image.

This is just an example. There are many other apps that scammers use to create images that can be used to blackmail victims.

AI has its benefits, but there are also drawbacks to it. It is always better to cross check the sites, emails and messages before you take any action.

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