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Understanding Deepfakes: How to Spot AI-Generated Imagery

We come across an array of diverse content daily, underlining the importance of a critical lens. Fraudsters often exploit technological advancements and communication channels, with AI becoming a common target. Deepfake, an offshoot of AI technology, is increasingly manipulated by such individuals to commit crimes, a worrying trend escalating in future.

What is a Deepfake?

Deepfake, a term devised from ‘deep machine learning' and ‘fake,' signifies the crafting of manipulated videos, audio clips, or images using technology, bearing an uncanny resemblance to reality.

Deep machine learning extracts input features via machine-learned algorithms with multiple layers. This facet of AI, associated with deepfake, often tamper with a face or a voice in deepfake videos or images. Regrettably, fraudsters use it to carry out a myriad of digital crimes.

Types of crimes include:

  • Phishing Scams
  • Data Infringements
  • Illicit Celebrity Content
  • Slander
  • Election Tampering
  • Social Influence
  • Identity Impersonation
  • Financial Frauds
  • Intimidation
  • Misrepresentation of Authority (vishing and virtual meetings with deepfake individuals)
  • Executive Impersonation

Deepfake technology allows digitization of data, like faces, by training machine models with multiple images of the target. Many of us might have used this technology via apps like FakeApp, a user-friendly Windows program for novice users.

The Rise of Deepfaked Voices

Voices can also be replicated using deepfake apps or programs, like deepfake voice generators. It operates similarly to image and video-based deepfakes where AI processes and scrutinizes audio files of a person's voice. Combined with convincing deepfake videos, this makes it challenging to distinguish the deepfake from the real person, leading to the spread of entirely fabricated viral fake news clips.

How to Safeguard Against Deepfake Fraud?

Detecting a deepfaked image or video can be tricky, posing risks to individuals and society. However, there are strategies to avoid being ensnared by deepfakes, with the primary step being learning to discern a deepfake.

Detecting a Deepfake

Signs of a deepfaked image or video:

  • Odd eye movements
  • Unnatural facial expressions
  • Distorted face contours
  • Lack of emotion in the face or voice
  • Odd body position or posture
  • Unusual body movements and shapes
  • Inconsistent coloring on light, shadow, and skin
  • Unrealistic looking hands and fingers
  • Artificial looking hair
  • Unnatural looking teeth
  • Bad synchronization between sound and lip movements

For those technically adept, there are software tools available to detect deepfakes and strategies to safeguard your videos and audio files. These include visual editing tools and digital fingerprints employing blockchain technology.

Strategies for Protection

  • Be critical of all information consumed and attempt to verify the source.
  • Examine images and videos meticulously for signs of tampering.
  • Protect your personal space by securing personal data and avoiding sharing sensitive material online.
  • Avoid sharing information before its source and legitimacy are confirmed. If found deceptive, remove and report content.
  • Stay updated to be better equipped to identify and evade potential threats.

Share these tips among your peers for a safer digital environment for all!

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