Fake board meeting nets cyber criminals more than €28m

Deepfake sting goes into action when phishing attack fails
Image: Gerd Altmann (cc)

6 February 2024

Scammers managed to steal millions of euros from a Hong Kong-based company by luring a single employee into a meeting populated by AI-generated facsimiles of executives, board members, and other staff.

The cyber criminals made deepfakes of several board members and targeted unsuspecting employee was sent a phishing link from his ‘chief financial officer’ asking him to make a transaction. When the employee hestated to click the link he was subsequently invited to a video meeting with executives, employees and people from outside the company. However, none of the attendees were really meeting – they were all deepfakes.

The fake meeting proved convincing enough that employee made 15 transfers totaling 200 million Hong Kong dollars (€23.8 million).

It took a week for the employee in question to realise that something wasn’t right and check with management itself anyway.

The deepfake versions of his bosses did ask the employee to introduce himself, but he did not realise that they were not interacting with him.

The rise of artificial intelligence and deepfakes holds dangers. Criminals are abusing these technologies en masse. With the increasing accuracy of these artificial representations, it is also easier to fall into a trap.

So is this a naive employee who is not paying attention, or is technology becoming so advanced that real is no longer distinguishable from fake? According to Police Inspector Tyler Chan Chi-wing, who is investigating the case, it is possible to check if you are dealing with a deepfake by simply asking the person to move their head, ask questions and stay alert if asked to make a financial transaction.

These seem like good tricks for the technology now, but AI and deepfakes will continue to improve. The line between real and not real is becoming harder and harder to perceive, which means that users will have to be increasingly vigilant.

News Wires

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