Staff Guide to Deepfakes

Across the world, organizations are beginning to recognize that deepfakes provide scammers a cheap, yet convincing way to phish their employees. Though UF has not seen such attempts made against its community, it is nonetheless important to be aware of these new tactics.

Deepfake-assisted scams often look a lot like phishing attempts. Your “boss” may claim you need to send sensitive information, authorize a charge, transfer money, or let someone into your office. However, the difference is that deepfake scammers use phone or video calls to impersonate a boss or executive rather than email or text. These mediums can be more convincing, especially as deepfake technology improves.

In one well-publicized example, an employee of a firm received an invitation to join a Zoom call with several known peers and the company CFO. On the call he agreed to transfer roughly $25.6 million, believing that the people he saw on the call were real. Unfortunately, everyone the worker saw on Zoom were deepfakes.

As deepfake technologies improve, it is becoming increasingly difficult to spot telltale imperfections in deepfake media. Thus, if you receive any suspicious requests via phone or Zoom, the best course of action is to hang up and call the person you think you saw at their contact in the UF Directory.