Cyber Security World

Hong Kong Finance Professional Suffers Deepfake Scam

A finance professional located in Hong Kong, working for a multinational corporation, suffered a scam where the main actors created a deepfake video of the company’s London-based chief financial officer during a conference call, resulting in the loss of $25 million (HK$200 million), according to reports.

The Hong Konger was suspicious upon the first appearance of his CFO, but was calmed as soon as the other colleagues joined the call and did not seem to notice the same thing. The intruder urgently ordered money transfers, which was eventually done – 15 transfers were made during the call into five different local bank accounts. The AI-generated videos were allegedly crafted using footage from legitimate online conferences in the past. In order to enhance credibility, the scammers used WhatsApp, email, and individual video conferences with Hong Kong staff members.

Baron Chan Shun-ching, the city’s police senior superintendent, according to an article by The Register, stated that they believe the scammer downloaded videos in advance and then used AI to generate fake voices to use in the video call.

This attack highlights the severe nature of attacks compared to a time of around a year ago. According to a claim made to The Register by John Shier, a Sophos researcher, deepfakes were not considered a significant threat, as scammers leaned towards simpler and cheaper methods like traditional phishing. However, with the rise of advanced AI and potentially greater financial rewards, the era of disregarding deepfake threats seems to be fading quickly, according to The Register.

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