How Deepfakes Can Affect Your Business

dangers of deepfakes

How Deepfakes Can Affect Your Business


As business leaders, you aren’t just tasked with managing staff, increasing revenue, and maintaining a positive company culture. You’re also responsible for dealing with digital threats and the broader umbrella of cybersecurity.

Especially for small business owners, that responsibility can feel momentous, considering that cyberattacks frequently multiply and breed. Recently, deepfakes have become one of the biggest sources of looming anxiety for the population. Alarmingly, only 53% of Americans feel confident recognizing altered content, whereas 46% say the opposite. 

When you think of deepfakes, you may think of things like Bill Hader comedy deepfakes, however, but deepfake technology is now playing a major role in cyber attacks, and causing concern for business’ data security and brand reputation when it comes to malicious impersonation.

What is Deepfake Technology?

The term “deepfake” gives the technology plenty of justice. It refers to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and sophisticated “deep learning” algorithms to produce or alter existing video and audio content. 

It’s a “synthetic media,” which essentially means artificially created or manipulated media. The technology is typically trained on tons of data and is consequently able to mimic it, convincingly imitate how a person looks and moves.

It might initially sound slightly interesting, considering it leverages advanced technology, but the “fake” part of the word will tell you that it’s commonly used for unsavory purposes.

Don’t be mistaken, however – deepfake technology can be extremely useful for genuine applications such as dubbing movies in other languages, but in the wrong hands, businesses will have to watch their backs.

Deepfakes as a Powerful Tool for Cyberattacks

The threat of deepfakes in the business world involves its potential to mimic the identity executive leaders and higher-ups in a realistic way. These cybercriminals could decide to create deepfake videos of CEOs giving instructions or updates to unsuspecting staff, leading to security breaches and other internal issues.

Considering that we’ve discovered that just under half of Americans surveyed consider it difficult to pinpoint altered content, the consequences could be fatal.

And it’s not just video content we’ve got to be concerned about. Deepfake technology can also refine the believability of email phishing attacks, using voice-cloning tools (also known as an audio deepfake) to generate speech in the same accent, tone, and style as a boss or manager. 

Security researchers have warned of a sophisticated new Trojan designed to steal facial biometric data and use it to produce deepfakes of victims which can bypass banking logins.

With this type of power in their hands, they have the authority to gather confidential information and request large transactions – a huge danger to any person or business.

More indirectly, but considerably as harmful, is the idea of deepfake technology harming business standing and reputation. 

We don’t want a video going viral that seems to be featuring the CEO making outlandish and controversial statements or engaging in unethical behavior. With a tarnished name, the business would need to spend a lot of time and money playing clean-up.

Identifying a Deepfake Cyberattack

As developers of deepfake technology continue to polish and refine it, business owners need to educate their teams on identifying deepfakes. Along with cybersecurity training on phishing, data privacy, and all those other important modules, deepfake identification and mitigation should now be built into these programs. 

Luckily, deepfake technology is far from flawless. Employees can and should be well-equipped to identify hitches or oddities in video or audio content that indicate non-genuine media.

The biggest indicator of a potential deepfake, is typically an unusual request. In cases where an employee receives a call or email from a superior but one that sounds fishy or out of character, they should always verify that request twice by going directly to the source. It’s a case of knowing when to take a step back and say, “Something seems off – let me verify this before doing anything else.”

Protect Your Business from Human Error

Cybercriminals putting on a virtual mask and stealing people’s likeness isn’t something out of a sci-fi movie anymore. It’s an unfortunate reality that business owners have to face.

Being able to mimic faces and voices to such a persuasive degree can truthfully be chilling, especially when you think of how much that technology could harm your business internally and externally.

But the truth is – technology is unstoppable, and this means we have to adapt and grapple with these changes. So, don’t play catch up. Integrate deepfake awareness into your cybersecurity training program, so every single member of your team is armed and ready to respond.

Despite all of the preventative work you can do to protect your business from harmful cyber attacks, human error is still the number 1 culprit.

Researchers from Stanford University and a top cybersecurity organization found that approximately 88 percent of all data breaches are caused by an employee mistake.

Is your IT provider taking the steps to keep your business safe? Are you conducting ongoing employee training on cybersecurity awareness, including evolving risks such as deepfake technologies? If not, contact Proper Sky today, we’re here to help.  



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