Home > NewsRelease > AI Generated Deepfakes | Next Level Cyber-Thuggery
AI Generated Deepfakes | Next Level Cyber-Thuggery
Albert Goldson Albert Goldson
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Thursday, March 9, 2023


Earlier this year the mediablitzed the public with the quantum leap in AI development and applicationsaffordable to the public and, most notably, the ability to create convincing deepfakes.

The software at the forefrontis ChatGPT, a $10 billion project by Microsoft, is one of several being rolledout in which the speed of its popularity among users will soon make it anubiquitous and indelible component of the virtual landscape.

This warp-speed popularity isarticulated in the following chart provided by Business Insider/LinkedInentitled ChatGPT Sprints to One Million Users:


Dark Web Tools Emerge

However, unlike its popular predecessors,ChatGPT along with other similar software designed to create deepfakes, areaffordable software tools that can easily be “weaponized” for an exceptionallywide-range of nefarious purposes whether against neighbors, co-workers,corporations or governments.

It represents a quantum leap thatpresent-day cyber-security tools lag far behind in combatting this potentialthreat forcing the “white hats” to undertake a technical tactical retreat andlimiting them, for the moment, to mitigating the damage while bolsteringdisaster recovery protocols.

Deep Fake Deception

Of the plethora of waysdeepfakes can be used by online scammers is to use such deepfake software totarget a highly vulnerable and rapidly growing demographic - citizenry withcognitive problems.

With evermore Baby Boomersretiring with bulging assets thanks to the unprecedented bull market in the 21stcentury, the greatest transfer of wealth in human history is underway in theform of inheritance to the next generations. Furthermore, the Baby Boomers arenow reaching the age in which they are far more susceptible to dementia andother cognitive problems.

This represents anunprecedented target-rich demographic who are socially more vulnerable. Aging BabyBoomers often have family yet live alone in large part to hyper-urbanization. Forthis reason, they suffer from isolation, depression and loneliness all of whichexacerbates and accelerates cognitive decline.

This aging demographic trendis most acute in developed and wealthier countries particularly Japan, China,South Korea, Europe and the US with many forcibly becoming urban hermits.

Deep Fakes | The Virtual Opioid

Not all of the elderly mayhave cognitive issues but the isolation and loneliness make them far moresusceptible to deep fake scams particularly if they use virtual entertainmentas a substitute for lack of human contact. Senior citizens with even mild dementia,as any close family member and/or caregiver is intimately aware, havedifficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality.

In a Wall Street Journalarticle 29 January 2023 entitled Many Seniors Are Lonely, Tech Can Help With That, the Pew Research stated that the US has the highestpercentage of older adults living alone which can lead to health problems,dementia and depression. For this reason, Big Tech is offering virtual realityand robotic pets that mitigate, not solve, these in situ aging problems.

Exacerbating this trend isthat during the 1990s, electronic devices like laptops and mobiles were expensiveand simply nice things to have. The dramatic change in the computer marketplacewith superior manufacturing cost efficiencies made electronic devicesaffordable to everyone. For this reason, private industry and government agenciesstreamlined their services eliminating in-person or human communications andtransactions.

Moving forward, near-future interactivevirtual services will be a requirement. This creates a virtual landscape whereseniors are unfamiliar and uncomfortable thus become extremely vulnerable tobad actors posing as the proverbial virtual knights in shining armor offeringassistance.

Worldwide Demographic Detonation

A comprehensive overview onglobal decrepitude and the associated exponentially growing dementia trend arearticulated in my article entitled Dementia | The Next Global Contagion and published on 31 December 2022 that provides anoverview of this growing vulnerability.

Furthermore, the present-dayglobal population suffering from cognitive problems is probably grosslyunder-estimated. There are millions who are not yet 60 years old who aremisdiagnosed. Doctors mistakenly believe the patient’s cognitive problems aretemporary as a result of stress or medication. The tragic story of actor BruceWillis is a prime example.

The following chart entitled The World’s Population by Age Group provided by the UN World Population Prospects 2019and furnished by Visual Capitalist, gives a striking visual image of the globalaging demographic trends.


The following chart entitled The World’s Oldest Populations provided by the UN Population Division presents a breakdownby country comparison of citizens over 65 in 2022 and the projected percentageof the same population in 2050, just over a generation in the future. However,the “longevity bonus” is offset by the greater increase in cognitive diseases.

According to the NY Timesarticle 27 November 2022 entitled “As Gen X and Boomers, They Confront Living Alone” provide the following trends in the US:

·       1960 13% ofhouseholds had a single occupant.

·       2022: 30% ofhouseholds has a single occupant.

·       26 millionAmericans over 50 live alone 2022 up from 15 million in 2000, a mere 22 years later.

US Cyber-Crime Trend

The following chart entitled The Internet Crime Business is Booming provided by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centerindicates the exponentially increasing financial losses by victims.

The following chart entitled The Costliest Types of Crime provided by the FBI Internet Crime Report 2021 indicatesthe specific types of internet crimes that are committed.

Worldwide Cyber-CrimeTrend

Worldwide the projected trendof cyber-crime is expected to explode in the forthcoming years putting unusualstrain on cyber-security firms to plug the leaks. Underscoring the overwhelmingtsunami of cyber-attacks, many cyber-security firms have focused on protectingonly the client’s Crown Jewels bycreating a smaller footprint with higherwalls. The following chart entitled Cybercrime Expected to Skyrocket in the Coming Years provided by Statista Technology Market Outlook,National Cyber Security Organizations, FBI and IMF.

The following chart entitled US Prefers Low-Tech Approach to High-Tech Security provided by Securitry.orgunderscores how present-day Americans are using low-tech methods as a firstline of defense to protect their data:

Global Implications | China’sAnti-Cyber-Crime Methods

Although Japan’s agingdemographic precedes China’s by about 10 years, China’s far greater and agingpopulation represents a security risk at the individual level.

According to Chinese censusdata, China is projected to have one-third of population over 60 years old by2050. Present-day there are 54 million Chinese over 65 years old who areunmarried, divorced or widowed which exacerbates loneliness and thirst for, ifnot companionship, certainly attention. The one child policy and its brutaltransformation into an urban environment discourages the traditional,multigenerational family living under the same roof.

Interestingly China has beenquite aggressive with international scammers of Chinese nationality through OperationFox Hunt initiated in 2014. According to the article in The Economist 18February 2023 entitled How China’s Police are Ensnaring Thousands of SuspectsAbroad, the initial objective was torepatriate corrupt Chinese officials living overseas.

This notably aggressive operationhas been greatly expanded to include online scammers operating abroad robbingChinese citizens. According to this article, such online scams have created anenormous resentment among the Chinese citizenry far greater than domestic governmentand private industry corruption.

Conclusion & Takeaways

The late middle age andelderly are the target-rich demographic for cyber-criminals particularly those livingin wealthier countries who have a high savings rate yet higher rates ofloneliness and dementia problems.

There are unofficial andinformal practices and considerations in the financial and banking industry incombatting this issue by using AI or other powerful software to recognizeunusual money transfers that deviate from patterned financial behavior of seniorcitizens’ accounts as a possible red flag of early cognitive issues.

The next level defenseagainst such attacks would be “fighting fire with fire” by utilizing AI torecognize deepfakes.

Furthermore, another protectivemethod for many industries that store sensitive data is to establish robustmulti-verification protocols before a request for sensitive information orfinancial transfer is authorized.

© Copyright 2023 Cerulean CouncilLLC

The Cerulean Council is aNYC-based think-tank that provides prescient, beyond-the-horizon, contrarianperspectives and risk assessments on geopolitical dynamics and global urbansecurity.


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