Manager pays fraudsters $243 000 because they sounded like the CEO

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By now you will have heard of fraudsters using emails to convince people to make payments on the order of the chief executive officer or other C-suite official.

Phishing is commonplace in cybercrime but a report from The Next Web has introduced a new word into the lexicon – vishing.

According to the report, criminals used commercially available voice-generating artificial intelligence software to spoof the voice of a German man that heads a firm which owns a UK energy company.

That UK energy firm’s CEO reportedly heard the familiar German accent and vocal patterns of his boss and complied with a request to wire $243 000 to a Hungarian supplier.

The CEO was told that the money would be reimbursed in an hour. Of course that didn’t happen and what’s more, the fraudsters tried to trick the CEO into transferring even more money.

The CEO did not make a second transfer.

The good news in all of this is that firm was insured and it did get its money back but as The Next Web points out, attacks such as these are about to become a lot more common. For clarity this attack appears to have happened back in March.

AI has been on the rise for a number of years now and we’ve already seen it being used as a way to fool people. Whether that be Deep Fakes or ageing in a matter of seconds, AI has already found its way into every day applications.

Being able to fool people using nothing but a voice is frightening and we’re already seeing voice fraud increasing. Cybersecurity firm Pindrop reported a 350 percent rise in voice fraud between 2013 and 2017. One in 638 of those calls was computer generated.

The world is becoming all the more confusing the more technology becomes entrenched in our lives.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.