An employee at an unnamed business in Hong Kong has reportedly been duped into transferring HK$200m ($25m) of her firm’s money by fraudsters posing as the company’s CEO in a deepfake video conference.

The unidentified woman filed a report that someone was “posing as senior officers of the company”.

Senior superintendent Baron Chan was quoted by Hong Kong’s public broadcaster, RTHK, suggesting that the scammer had used AI to successfully trick the worker and the matter is being dealt with by Hong Kong’s cyber crime police unit.

“[The fraudster] invited the informant to a video conference that would have many participants. Because the people in the video conference looked like the real people, the informant made 15 transactions as instructed to five local bank accounts, which came to a total of HK$200m,” he said.

“We can see from this case that fraudsters are able to use AI technology in online meetings, so people must be vigilant even in meetings with lots of participants,” Chan added. 

Hong Kong authorities said an initial investigation had led them to class the case as “obtaining property by deception”.

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By GlobalData

The employee had received a message stressing the importance of confidential transactions from who she thought was the CEO, according to the national broadcaster. 

After the call had ended, the employee spoke to senior members of the company and realised she had been caught up in a scam. 

“I believe the fraudster downloaded videos in advance and then used AI to add fake voices to use in the video conference,” Chan said. 

Dr Ilia Kolochenko, CEO and chief architect at ImmuniWeb, told Verdict that generative AI (GenAI) is a gift for scammers and hackers, but it is unlikely there will be a spike in GenAI-bolstered cyberattacks.

“Abundance of freely available GenAI solutions to generate texts voice and video provides scammers with unprecedented opportunities to trick their victims to pay money, disclose trade secrets or sensitive financial information to third parties, or even manipulate financial markets, let alone interference with politics and elections,” Kolochenko said.

The UK, which recently outlined its Online Safety Bill, made an amendment in 2022 to make non-consensual deepfake pornography illegal in the country.

Kolochenko believes that regulations are not enough to properly stop the creation and spreading of deepfakes.

“What we really need is to add AI-content detection mechanisms to all major social networks and platforms where users can share content, as well as integrating detection of AI-generated content to spam filters, so all non-human content will be visibly marked as such,” Kolochenko added.