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Deepfake scammer walks off with $25 million in first-of-its-kind AI heist

Accepted submission by Freeman at 2024-02-05 16:16:54 from the dystopia is now! dept.
News []

On Sunday, a report from the South China Morning Post [] revealed a significant financial loss suffered by a multinational company's Hong Kong office, amounting to HK$200 million (US$25.6 million), due to a sophisticated scam involving deepfake technology. The scam featured a digitally recreated version of the company's chief financial officer, along with other employees, who appeared in a video conference call instructing an employee to transfer funds.

Due to an ongoing investigation, Hong Kong police did not release details of which company was scammed.

Deepfakes utilize AI tools to create highly convincing fake videos [] or audio recordings [], posing significant challenges for individuals and organizations to discern real from fabricated content.
The scam was initially uncovered following a phishing attempt, when an employee in the finance department of the company's Hong Kong branch received what seemed to be a phishing message, purportedly from the company’s UK-based chief financial officer, instructing them to execute a secret transaction. Despite initial doubts, the employee was convinced by the presence of the CFO and others in a group video call and proceeded to make 15 transfers totaling HK$200 million to five different Hong Kong bank accounts. The realization of the scam occurred approximately a week later, prompting a police investigation.
Acting senior superintendent Baron Chan Shun-ching of the Hong Kong police emphasized the novelty of this scam, noting that it was the first instance in Hong Kong where victims were deceived in a multi-person video conference setting. He pointed out the scammer's strategy of not engaging directly with the victim beyond requesting a self-introduction, which made the scam more convincing.

Original Submission