Criminals used artificial intelligence (AI) software to clone the voice and impersonate the CEO of a German company that owns a UK energy subsidiary. According to a report published by Wall Street Journal last Friday (30), the fraud generated a loss of € 220 thousand (about R $ 1.1 million, in direct conversion) to the company.
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The scam came in March, when fraudsters resorted to the voice generation program to imitate the German CEO and deceive one of his subordinates, the executive director of the UK subsidiary. The criminals called the British CEO and asked him to transfer funds to a Hungarian supplier in an hour, with the guarantee that the money would be refunded.
Criminals used artificial intelligence to imitate the CEO’s voice and deceive subordinates with fraudulent liaison – Photo: Pond5
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Hearing the chief’s German voice and accent, the executive answered the request without question. It turns out that the amount was not only not refunded, but the fraudsters requested another transfer. This time, however, the British CEO suspected something was wrong and refused to make the transaction.
The funds transferred to Hungary have been transferred to accounts in Mexico and elsewhere. The competent authorities remain investigating the case, but have not yet identified the suspects involved in the crime. As the energy company was insured by the Euler Hermes Group, the amount lost in the fraudulent transfer was covered. The name of the company and the parties involved were not disclosed.
The advances in artificial intelligence, capable of creating machines and software with the ability to think and act like humans, concern scientists and government entities. In December 2018, the US Congress created bills to criminalize deepfake videos, which use technology to change people’s faces and put them in situations they’ve never experienced in real life. Increasingly accurate, the technique can have significant impacts in the political context.
Also last year, Pindrop, an information security company that offers anti-fraud solutions for call centers, reported a 350% increase in voice fraud between 2013 and 2017. In the years 2016 and 2017 alone, one in 638 calls was created artificially. Virtual assistants such as Siri and Cortana, facial recognition tools, smart cars and robots that perform worker functions are also examples of artificial intelligence applications.
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