Deep Fakes: Alarming Predictions Made Real

August 25, 2022

Here is one disturbing way deep fakes can provide bad actors with a new money-making opportunity. Reporting on a growing, Google-play enabled problem, Rest of World tells us “Mexican Scam Loan Apps Will Edit Your Face onto X-Rated Photos and Send Them to Your Family.” Yes, at least one victim had such faked images sent to her contacts, including her minor daughter, along with the claim she had turned to prostitution to pay off her loan. In their odious efforts to collect more funds than they lent in the first place, these outfits will also dox victims and harass with ceaseless threatening phone calls. Reporter Erika Lilian Contreras writes:

Rest of World identified 94 loan apps listed as possibly related to doxxing activities across various Mexican cyber police departments; 35 of these are available on Google’s Play store, the app store on Android devices, which account for 80.87% of mobile internet traffic in Mexico. According to victims, government officials, digital rights activists, and platforms, gaps in Mexican law allow these lenders to continue to push scams on app stores and leave victims with no clear avenue to restitution or justice. Consumer education and criminal investigations that come after a crime has occurred are the only ways to currently combat this new type of digital financial fraud, but none of these efforts has stopped the apps from appearing in app stores, according to digital security experts who spoke to Rest of World.”

Mexico’s financial services regulators say it is not their problem since these loan apps are not registered financial institutions. This leaves the national and local cybersecurity agents who, so far, have been unable to keep the problem from growing. Bad actors know a good opportunity when they see one. The article notes:

“While the Mexican government can do little and the tech companies platforming scam loan apps won’t take responsibility, the onus has fallen onto civil society. … However, most activism is limited to educating Mexicans about the risks posed by scam loan apps.”

It would be nice if Google would supply even an ounce of prevention here as it finally did in India. That, however, was only after the Reserve Bank of India forcefully drew about 600 scam-credit apps to its attention.

We wonder: where will deep fake technology be weaponized next? We think we know one knock on effect: Open source intelligence will be eroded or poisoned.

Cynthia Murrell, August 25, 2022


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