The FBI has warned the public that over the next 12 to 18 months, the use of synthetic content by malicious actors will increase massively. The FBI believes that this will largely be spearheaded by foreign elements looking to influence opinions in the US and other countries in the Western world.
According to the FBI, synthetic content refers to any form of manipulated content, including photos, videos, text, or even audio. The content may also include deepfakes, the use of artificial intelligence to replace the likeness of one person with another. The purpose of deep fakes is to create misleading information and dupe the public into believing something that is not true.
The FBI also noted that in recent months it has noticed increased deepfake activities from Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies. The government agency warned that there seem to be an increasing number of fake journalists and fake articles that appear to be circulating online. Nonetheless, the FBI says that it is very easy to uncover this fraudulence using simple fact-checking.
The threat of deepfakes is increasingly becoming serious because they have become easy to create. They have been used in pop culture as part of funny memes but they can also be used for abusive activities, including revenge porn and online bullying. Big tech companies like Google have already warned that the spread of deepfakes will increase rapidly.
And as the years go, it will become even harder for the average person to distinguish between a deep fake and a real video. The FBI notes that it has already identified multiple foreign-led campaigns using deep fakes to try and influence opinions in the US. These campaigns started in late 2019 and have been going on since then.
The bureau has, however, issued several guidelines that could help people identify deepfakes. The agency notes that people should pay attention to the space between the subject’s eyes and head. If it’s too much, then chances are it’s a deep fake. The FBI also says that in most deepfakes, there is no synchronization between the face and the lips.
In addition to this, researchers at the University of Buffalo have developed a tool that is able to spot deepfakes with about 94% accuracy. Nonetheless, the tool is not available to the public yet. The FBI also notes that it has issued detailed guidance that should help average citizens protect themselves from cybercrime.
The bureau urged members of the public to verify any information online by seeking out multiple sources. The spread of misinformation, especially on social media platforms has become a huge problem over the last few years.
Although platforms like Facebook and Twitter are putting in measures to stem the spread of such misleading content, there are still a lot of conspiracy theory websites all over the internet. However, it seems like the FBI and other government security agencies are taking this threat with the seriousness that it deserves.