FBI: Scammers using deep fake technology to apply for remote work

The FBI says scammers are using deep fake technology in order to apply to remote tech jobs. 

According to the FBI’s latest announcement on their Internet Crime Complaint Center, more and more companies have been reporting people applying to jobs using images, video, and recordings that have been manipulated to look like someone else. 

What is a deep fake?

Deepfakes are described by Microsoft as "photos, videos or audio files manipulated by artificial intelligence (AI) in hard-to-detect ways."

The most common deepfakes – a word that combines computational deep learning and fake – replace the real person in a video with someone else. And they can be used very effectively to make it look like someone, typically a famous person, is saying and doing something they never said or did. Or used as blackmail in a deepfake pornography scheme.

Typically, deepfake videos are created using facial mapping and artificial intelligence to create eerily similar digital mockups of a person to impersonate their identity.

Deepfake videos have already been flagged as a growing threat to America’s national security when a House Intelligence Committee hearing in 2019 served up a public warning about the deceptive powers of artificial intelligence software.

The warning by the House committee came after a crudely altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., which at the time was viewed millions of times on social media, showed the politician slurring her words. While the video was debunked as false, it was already spreading misinformation rapidly, alarming lawmakers and experts. 

"Deepfakes include a video, an image, or recording convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said," the FBI explains. 

How to spot a deepfake?

The technology is becoming uncomfortably convincing. 

One TikTok account featuring deepfake videos of actor Tom Cruise have gained a massive following yet it has serious implications. 

To the untrained eye, most people watching these TikTok videos would think they’re watching the actual actor Tom Cruise play golf, doing magic tricks and telling jokes. But look closer and you can see tiny imperfections in the recreation of his voice, exaggerated mannerisms, a slightly different body type, and other small anomalies.

In the job interviews the FBI has flagged, complaints include voice spoofing during online interviews and other qualities that have baffled interviewees. 

But there are signs to look out for. "In these interviews, the actions and lip movement of the person seen interviewed on-camera do not completely coordinate with the audio of the person speaking. At times, actions such as coughing, sneezing, or other auditory actions are not aligned with what is presented visually," the FBI wrote.

"Deepfake technology has reached the point where authenticity of a video is almost impossible to confirm as genuine," Brandon Hoffman, Chief Information Security Officer at Netenrich, a cybersecurity company, told Fox News.

"Media outlets do not want to be the unwitting participants in causing widespread panic…With deepfakes they are in a position where they have to decide, without any technology to help them confirm authenticity, whether or not to run a piece with video that could be fake," Hoffman said.