The recent deepfake video of actor Rashmika Mandana created lots of social media buzz and attracted backlash for the misuse of the digital medium. Deepfake can affect anyone and ruin his/her personal and professional life if one’s video is manipulated beyond a limit. It is growingly becoming a part of the cyber crime world that is infesting the life of commoners.
In a similar case, a senior Ahmedabad executive was aghast when a video showing him in a compromising position was circulated in the closed social media groups.
The video was a deepfake generated to malign him as no money was demanded. Loath to approach the police, the official consulted a private cyber security expert to remove the controversial content from the web.
Similarly, a city-based businessman approached private investigators after a sextortion bid using a deepfake video involving him.
A fortnight back, a doctor from Nadiad has approached police after his video in a compromising position with a patient went viral. During primary inquiry, it was known that his wife, an ophthalmologist, had made that video to take revenge from him over some domestic dispute, police said.
In another case, a Class 12 boy of a well-known school in Ahmedabad made a deepfake of his female classmate as she refused his relationship proposal.
Cybercrime experts say many personalities including former chief ministers and political leaders have become victim to the trend where artificial intelligence (AI) tools are used for manipulation of digital imagery.
Experts warn the danger is only set to compound due to rapid strides in advancement of AI technology and its easy availability online.
In a deepfake video of April 2021, CM Vijay Rupani was seen singing American singer Taylor Swift’s hit ‘I knew you were trouble.’ A Surat-based youth was apprehended by police for making the video. Similarly, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) office-bearers lodged a police complaint after deepfake video of Delhi MLA Gulab Singh Yadav was circulated ahead of 2022 state elections.
Formal complaints are few while the number of unregistered cases is manifold, indicated experts.
Earlier videos were morphed and doctored but morphing can be understood as something done by a person, whereas deepfakes are mostly created with the help of AI-based tools and software where it is much more proficient and can thus camouflage more efficiently. It gets difficult to distinguish the real from the fake.
City police’s cyber cell officials said there were several groups on popular messaging apps where organised gangs made the deepfake videos of victims and extort money. It is linked with the loan app fraud where a person’s failure to repay a loan at higher rate of interest results in misuse of pictures in videos. The videos are then used to extort money. “The person would claim that he has contacts from the person’s phonebook and the video would be circulated to all of them,” police said.
There are cases where love affairs have gone sour or financial disputes result in the perpetrator resorting to infamy of a person through videos that show the person in poor light.
Cybercrime experts said the pigmentation near the face, difference in light, shade, face shape, unusual facial hair or too smooth or unnaturally wrinkled skin work as giveaways in detecting a fake from the real.