Tag Archives: DeepFakes

Security News for the Week Ending November 27, 2020

Senate Passes Legislation to Protect Against Deep Fakes

While I agree that deep fakes – photos and videos that use tech to make it look like someone is saying something or doing something that they never did – can be nasty, is that really the best use of the Senate’s time right now? In any case, they did pass the legislation, the IOGAN Act (S.2904) and sent it to the House. It directs the NSF to support deep fake research and NIST measure the problem and see if they can get private companies to spend their money on solving the problem. The bill plans to allocate a total of $6 million over 6 years towards the problem. Credit: The Register

Apple’s Global Security Team Charged with Bribing Sheriff with iPads

Not only is Apple in trouble but so is the Sheriff. Apparently the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office has decided that concealed carry weapons permits can be bought and sold – or at least they can be bought. Apple offered the Sheriff’s Department 200 iPads worth $75,000 if they got the permits. The undersheriff and a captain are now charged with soliciting bribes. Other folks, including Apple’s security chief are charged with offering bribes. Business as usual. Credit: The Register

Feds Fine JPMorgan $250 Million For Failing to Maintain Controls

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency fined JPMorgan Chase Bank for failing to maintain sufficient internal controls and internal audit. The OCC said the bank’s risk management practices were deficient. Probably not something you want the feds to tell you. Credit: Reuters

You Know Those Nigerian Hacker Stories – They Are Real

The feds have broken a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scam operating out of Lagos, Nigeria. So far they have identified 50,000 targeted victims and 26 different malware tools. BEC attacks are growing in size and some Russian attacks netted over a million dollars each. Three men have been arrested. Credit: Threatpost

Comcast Imposes More Bandwidth Caps

While bandwidth caps have no real effect on network performance, they do have a great impact on Comcast’s balance sheet, so they are back to imposing them across the country. If you use more than 1.2 terabytes a month, they will charge you $10 for every extra 50 gigabytes up to $100 extra a month. Unless, of course, you buy their unlimited plan for an extra $30 a month, whether you use extra or not. Or unless you rent a modem from them for $25 a month. Given that American Internet prices are among highest in the world and American mobile Internet performance is below countries like Ethiopia and Uganda (see chart), it makes perfect sense that Monopolistic Internet providers will figure out how to charge us more for less. Credit: Vice

The Trump-Bytedance Dance Continues

The Trump administration has been trying to force Bytedance, owner of TikTok to sell the company or the administration was going to shut it down. The only problem is that there are 100 million users of TikTok in the U.S. and some percentage of them are Republicans and, politically, pissing off 100 million Americans is not a really great thing to do. As a result, the administration, which told Bytedance to sell in August, gave Bytedance another 15 day extension recently and now gave it another 7 day extension. Personally, I am fine with the administration killing TikTok off; it doesn’t seem like an important national asset, but those 100 million American users/voters probably disagree with me. Credit: Cybernews

Will Deepfakes Redefine Whether You Can Believe What You See?

“Think of this – one man with total control of billions of people’s stolen data.  All their secrets, their lives, their futures…”  So begins a fake video  using technology and videos of Mark Zuckerberg saying completely different things (see here).

It even has a CBS News logo on it.  CBS asked Facebook to take it down for trademark violation, but since they refused to take down the doctored video that Trump and others on the right used to try to smear Speaker Pelosi, they are now in a box.

But this is not a Facebook problem.  Nowadays, almost anyone with a little bit of skill and not very much money can make a relatively convincing fake video.

Then they can post it.

They don’t have to post it on Facebook, they can post it on some obscure, non-US web site.  One they create for the purpose.  One that is going to ignore takedown requests.  One that can move at will making it hard to block.

Then all they have to do is wait for people to post links to it.

Could be anything.

The video could show someone committing a crime or talking about something illegal or something immoral.  Given the tech, the possibilities are endless.

Abraham Lincoln once said that it must be true if it is on the Internet (no, he didn’t say that! ).   People tend to believe things that reinforce anything that they would like to be real.

That Zuckerberg video looks pretty real.  It should because it is Zuckerberg and he did speak, just not those words in that order.

Since politics is full of dirty tricks and it would be easy to create plausible deniability by getting someone in another country to actually do the posting (after all, Trump just said the other day that he would listen to dirt about an opponent given him by a foreign power – this is not much of a stretch.  After all, it could be real.  How would someone know?  Especially if they want it to be true.

This would be an easy way for an enemy of the U.S. to influence an election.  Create enough of these fake videos – for China it would cost petty cash – say $1 million or even $10 million for a whole bunch of them – and you could cause people not to know what to believe.

While tech could help mainstream media figure out some fakes, web sites that didn’t really care whether something is fake as long as it hurt people they want to hurt, will choose not to use that tech.  This puts the target of the smear in a position of having to react and possibly sue to try and get things taken down.  Good luck with that.  It would be a game of whack-a-mole.

Stay tuned, this will get ugly.  Source: Vice.