US frets over ‘deepfake’ threats to national security

Lazy eyes listen


The US National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI have issued a threat notice over “deepfake” technology, which could be used to help infiltrate computer systems in the military and other sensitive targets.

Hackers can exploit computer-generated graphics to hijack brands, mimic organisation leaders, and obtain access to sensitive data, according to a cybersecurity advice issued by the federal authorities on Tuesday. While such approaches have been used in the past, improvements in artificial intelligence have made deepfake images easier and less expensive to make.

“The tools and techniques for manipulating authentic multimedia are not new, but the ease and scale with which cyber actors are using these techniques are,” NSA mathematician Candice Rockwell Gerstner said in a statement. “Organizations and their employees need to learn to recognize deepfake tradecraft and techniques and have a plan in place to respond and minimize impact if they come under attack.”

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also contributed to the advice released on Tuesday. Deepfake attacks, the agencies said, could pose problems for security agencies, the Pentagon, and defence contractors. The agencies advised organisations to implement systems capable of detecting deepfakes and tracing the origins of multimedia assets.

“In addition to undermining brands and finances, synthetic media can cause public unrest by disseminating false information about political, social, military, or economic issues,” according to the alert.

As the 2024 US election approaches and congressional Republicans move through with their impeachment investigation against President Joe Biden, these worries will become much more pressing. Promoting the deepfake danger may also serve as a pretext for calling into doubt the authenticity of legitimate multimedia content.

During the 2020 election season, the FBI prepared the setup for social media censorship of a bombshell revelation on alleged influence-peddling by the Biden family, as proven by files on a laptop left at a repair shop by Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that his platform limited sharing of the Biden story because the FBI had told the business that law enforcement feared a massive “dump” of Russian disinformation just before the election. After the laptop story broke, a number of former US intelligence officials wrongly claimed it contained the “hallmarks” of Russian disinformation to boost Biden’s campaign.