True North Networks Blog
Cybercriminals Impersonate Chief Exec's Voice with AI Software
This didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would to be used for nefarious purposes. You can’t even believe your own eyes or ears anymore.
Scammers leveraged artificial intelligence software to mimic the voice of a chief executive and successfully request $243,000.
Fraudsters are constantly looking for new ways to scam their victims. One unique case gives the security industry a glimpse of what they could do with artificial intelligence (AI) and voice recording.
As part of an incident in March, an attacker called the CEO of a UK-based energy business pretending to be the head of its German parent company. Analysts believe AI-based software was used to impersonate the chief executive's voice, as it had the slight German accent and other qualities the UK CEO recognized in his boss's voice — qualities that led him to believe the call was legitimate. The caller issued an "urgent" request to the CEO, demanding he transfer $243,000 to a Hungarian supplier within an hour's time.
The transfer went through and the money was later moved to other countries. Scammers continued to contact the UK company and make additional payment requests, according to Euler Hermes, the organization's insurer. However, the CEO grew suspicious and did not transfer the funds.
While this incident is still under investigation, the Wall Street Journal cites officials saying this impersonation attack is the first in which fraudsters "clearly" leveraged AI to mimic someone's voice. It's believed this technology could make it easier for scammers to manipulate enterprise victims, complicating matters for defenders who don't yet have the technology to detect them.