Robbers steal £25m by deepfaking boss voice to fool bank manager

Fraudsters have used a ‘deep faked’ voice of a company executive to fool a bank manager to scam him out of up to £25 million.

Deepfakes – the artificial-intelligence derived technique of mapping one dance onto another – have been causing concerns for some time now.

Artificially intelligent tech used for creating deepfakes is famous for creating the de-ageing Luke Skywalker or making Tom Cruise pick fights with Justin Bieber but is now being used to aid cybercriminals with serious heists.

According to Futurism.com, criminals used AI voice cloning to steal $35 million from a United Arab Emirates bank in early 2020.

The scammers used a manipulated voice of a company executive to fool a bank manager into transferring millions to them.

Posing as the boss, the scammers said his company was about to make an acquisition and needed the money.

The bank manager had allegedly worked with the executive they contacted who recognised the voice and authorised the transfer straight into the accounts of the criminals.

According to a court document unearthed by Forbes, the stolen cash went into US-based accounts held by Centennial Bank.

The United Arab Emirates, which is investigating the heist, believes it was an elaborate scheme, involving at least 17 individuals, which sent the money to bank accounts around the world.

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The incident is the second known case of criminals using a 'deep-faked' voice to try and rob a bank as in 2019, criminals used AI to try and impersonate an executive’s voice to steal $243,000, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Reports also claim the deepfake technology is becoming more refined so much so that it can be completely unrecognisable.

The possibility of creating convincing "fake news", with politicians made to say things they didn’t and photorealistic celebrity porn with famous people doing things on camera they would never actually do could undermine our entire society.

But until now, at least, deepfakes have been fairly hard to make, requiring specialised computer software.

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