Expert: Cyber ruses getting harder to monitor

The original article was published by Ashley Tang at The Star

PETALING JAYA: With financial scam advertisements and deepfakes of prominent personalities popping up on social media sites, it may be harder to monitor these ruses by cybercriminals, say cybersecurity experts.

Cybersecurity firm LGMS founder CF Fong said social media giants should be held accountable for the fraudulent advertising.

“Nowadays, everything seems to be so convincing. If we do not do our due diligence, we can easily fall prey. “Any organisation or those responsible for publishing need to understand their responsibilities and perform proper validation and verification.

“It used to be the responsibility of print media but now, anyone can publish and disseminate any kind of information online.

“So the same kind of accountability and responsibility should be borne by these companies as well, ” he said when contacted.

Fong said although these companies could also be a victim of fraud, they needed to have some sort of “filtering or internal controls” for their advertisements.

To counter this, Fong suggested that social media companies request for extra documentation or multiple sources of verification from a company.

“Instead of just looking at the video, Facebook, for example, can request for further paperwork from the company to confirm that the campaign is real or ask for additional documentations to verify, ” he said. Recently, such scams had used prominent figures such as badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei and AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes to dupe people.

In July, a get-rich-quick investment scam used Lee’s name, claiming that he had come up with “a new secret investment that made hundreds of people in Malaysia very rich”.

In a Facebook post, Lee denied any part in the financial investment.As for Fernandes, a misleading sponsored content post on Facebook had linked him to a new financial technology platform.

Fong said the public must not believe everything on the Internet.

“The people must do the extra step to verify so that they do not fall prey to these online scams.

“We are starting to lose our ability to do analysis by accepting all the information directly from the Internet, ” he said.

With deepfake scams also happening, Kaspersky Southeast Asia general manager Yeo Siang Tiong said these were a “new weapon for cybercriminals”.

Yeo said with deepfake technology, the ability to create puppets

of real people using publicly available photos, video and audio recordings was now within everyone’s grasp. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that a voice deepfake had scammed a CEO of a UK-based energy firm of €220,000 (RM1.08mil).

With Facebook also not taking action against a deepfake video on Instagram (owned by Facebook) of its founder Mark Zuckerberg, Yeo said it showed that big tech companies were not prepared to deal with the onslaught of artificial intelligence (AI)-generated fake media.

“It is not necessarily the social media company’s fault.

“Deepfakes are incredibly hard to moderate as they are so broad that any attempt to clampdown on AI-edited photos and videos would end up affecting a whole swath of harmless content, ” he said.

Currently, Yeo said there was no purely technological solution to the deepfake problem but the threat could be mitigated with effective communication.

He urged the public to practise good basic security procedures such as educating themselves on how to spot a deepfake, making sure they were media literate, and have good basic protocols.

“A sceptical attitude to voice mail and videos won’t guarantee a person won’t be deceived but it can help avoid many traps, ” he said.

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