Unmasking the Deepfake Scam Threat in the Financial Sector of Asia

Unmasking the Deepfake Scam Threat in the Financial Sector of Asia

by April 9, 2024

In the contemporary digital world, the proliferation of deepfake technology and generative AI heralds an era fraught with online scam challenges, notably within the financial sector in Asia.

This burgeoning technology, characterised by its ability to create indistinguishably fraudulent audio and visual content, not only complicates the process of identity verification but also emboldens cybercriminals, precipitating substantial financial losses.

Stuart Wells, chief technology officer at Jumio, alongside Frederic Ho, Jumio’s vice president of Asia Pacific, delve into the nuances of this issue, providing insights into the threat posed by deepfake advances to financial institutions.

They speak to Fintech News Singapore to shed light on the significance of advanced AI and fraud detection technologies, and the importance of collaborative efforts to mitigate these risks.

Deepfake tools are becoming widely accessible to bad actors

Stuart Wells

Stuart Wells

The advent of deepfake technology has dramatically shifted the cyber security landscape, evolving from a novel anomaly to a tool of deception with dire financial consequences.

“There are over 50 tools that allow someone to create a deep fake within 10 to 15 minutes,”

says Wells, emphasising the alarming ease of access and sophistication of these tools.

This accessibility is evidenced by one of the most prolific deepfake scam in Asia, where deepfake technology facilitated the embezzlement of US$25 million from a company in Hong Kong, highlighting the growing threat of sophisticated cyber fraud. It’s becoming more difficult to differentiate between genuine and fraudulent identities with the human eye.

The global impact of impersonation scams can be far-reaching, and expensive. In 2022 alone, they resulted in losses of £107 million for UK consumers, US$2.6 billion for US consumers, and S$101 million in Singapore.

These figures starkly highlight the significant financial toll exacted by deepfake-related fraud globally, underscoring the pressing need for heightened security measures to safeguard financial transactions.

And end users are likewise concerned, especially with the explosion of consumer-friendly generative AI tools that have emerged in recent times. In fact according to the Jumio 2023 Online Identity Study, 73% of Singaporean consumers believe these AI-driven tools will make online identity theft easier than ever.

Unmasking the Deepfake Scam Threat in the Financial Sector of Asia

The easier availability of advanced AI tools is compounding this global threat surface.

The strategic imperative of eKYC in combatting deepfake scams

With the escalating deepfake scam threat in Asia, biometric identity verification and liveness detection emerge as indispensable defences.

These technologies play a crucial role in verifying identities in an environment increasingly compromised by sophisticated fraud.

“Even people who are trained on deep fakes have a real difficulty determining what’s a real image from an image created using a deep fake.”

says Wells.

Jumio’s approach to bolstering identity fraud prevention involves AI-driven fraud checks on identity documents for signs of tampering, such as text and photo manipulation.

Employing face-based biometrics and advanced liveness detection allows for detection of sophisticated spoofing attacks such as face swapping and face morphing.

Incorporating passive risk signals during onboarding offers another layer of assurance. Examples include verifying the user’s personally identifiable information (PII), assessing the age and reputation of the user’s email and phone number, verifying their location via IP address, and evaluating the trustworthiness of the device to assess the user risk level.

Charting a Course Forward

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, financial institutions must remain vigilant, embracing state-of-the-art solutions and fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation among financial institutions, regulatory bodies and technology providers.

This collective endeavor is crucial for sharing knowledge, best practices, and advancements in cyber security, strengthening the financial sector’s defences against evolving threats.

“If I can see further than any man, it’s because I stand on the shoulders of giants,”

Wells says encapsulating the essence of leveraging collective knowledge and technological advancements in surmounting cyber security challenges.

Frederic Ho

Frederic Ho, VP, Asia Pacific, Jumio

Additionally, Ho stresses the necessity of adopting a holistic approach that transcends national borders, acknowledging the global operations of both businesses and cyber threats.

Well and Ho both emphasise the paramount importance of deploying sophisticated eKYC and biometric technologies, engaging in international collaboration, and continuously innovating to outpace fraudsters.

It’s evident that the fight against deep fake technology in fraudulent scam scenarios, and its multifaceted security implications for the financial sector in Asia, demand a synergistic approach that utilizes advanced technology, encourages collaboration, and prioritizes ongoing innovation.

With billions lost to impersonation scams in recent years, the urgency of this global battle cannot be overstated, necessitating concerted efforts to shield the financial ecosystem from this burgeoning threat.

Learn more about the right method, and the right technology, to shield against the specter of deepfakes in three different ways.

Featured image credit: Edited from Freepik