The journey of ‘deepfakes’ and the light solution

By Antony Mutunga

Breakthroughs and innovation in a number of fields such as artificial technology (AI), mobile technology, quantum computing, and nanotechnology have seen the world develop faster in a short period. 

This growth has resulted to a shift in the way societies and economies, as a whole, function. From massive computer drives to being able to mimic someone’s facial and vocal likeness with accuracy, the world has witnessed ideas that were once thought impossible. 

However, as technology continues to advance because of high mobile and internet penetration, companies and individuals are struggling with its effects. It has become necessary to focus on the potential disruption these technology advancements pose to the world.

Cyber criminals ARE causing havoc through computer viruses, and those with the digital knowledge and finances are able to control what information reaches the masses first. One of the major challenges that the world is currently facing is the rise of “deepfake”, a technology that runs on deep learning artificial intelligence to replace, alter, or mimic someone’s visual, or audio, to produce a manipulated and distorted data. 

It is so bad that according to Murray Collyer, chief operating officer of iiDENTIFii, a remote face authentication and automated onboarding tech platform, deepfakes, at some point, are used in digital injection attacks which are sophisticated, highly scalable. These replicable cyber-attacks can even bypass the camera on a device, and are (often) injected into a data stream.

“Digital injection attacks present the highest threat to financial services, as the AI technology behind it is affordable, and the attacks are rapidly scalable. In fact, a recent digital security report by iProov illustrates how, in an indiscriminate attempt to bypass an organisation’s security systems, some 200-300 attacks were launched globally from the same location within a 24-hour period. As more and more Africans embrace digital banking, deepfake technology is a serious threat,”
Collyer says.

Deepfakes can be safeguarded against through the use of technology. For instance, Liveness detection which uses biometric technology, can identify a deepfake. Now, with a number of face biometric technologies incorporating liveness checks such as wink or a blink, the technology is more capable of detecting them, even if they are presented through a camera.

“Specialized technology is required to combat deepfakes. Within iiDENTIFii, we have seen success with the use of sophisticated yet accessible 4D liveness technology, which includes a time-stamp and is further verified through a three-step process where the user’s selfie and ID document data are checked with relevant government databases. This enables us to accurately authenticate someone’s identity,” Collyer explains.

He adds that with the right technology, it is  possible to protect consumers and businesses against deepfake financial crimes and also create a user experience that is simple, accessible and safe for all. Currently, financial and cybercrimes are the world’s leading crime threats. Therefore, with this security technology available, it is in the hands of individuals to ensure they safeguard their devices to not fall victim to cyber-criminals.   

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