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Deepfakes to wreak havoc, warns Israeli security expert

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Uri Rivner, chief cyber officer and co-founder, BioCatch.
Uri Rivner, chief cyber officer and co-founder, BioCatch.

Any business allowing digital onboarding or offering new digital products is now more exposed than ever to cyber attacks. Digital identities can no longer be established with a high degree of trust, and this undermines the entire notion of digital transformation.

So says Uri Rivner, chief cyber officer and co-founder of BioCatch, speaking about what he sees as the biggest security trends of 2020.

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BioCatch was founded in 2011 in Israel by experts in neural science, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cyber terrorism to address next-generation digital identity challenges . Rivner wil be joining the expert speaker line-up at the upcoming ITWeb Security Summit 2020.

According to him, new EU regulations are also shaping up the world’s view on what proper digital security should be. However, while there may be the best of intentions behind them, these new regulations won’t protect consumers, or stop fraud. In fact, he says, they create a false sense of security and may actually have a negative effect on digital businesses.

Speaking of how he sees the threat landscape evolving over the next few years, Rivner says deepfakes coupled with major hacks into user’s photo and video footage will be applied to face recognition, wreaking havoc on battle-tested technologies that have worked well for years.

Deepfakes are manipulated videos and other digital representations created through deep learning and highly sophisticated artificial intelligence, that produce fake images, videos and sounds that appear to be real. These techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it far more difficult for people to tell what is real, from what is not.

In addition, he says we can expect to see more deep social engineering, across many geographies and businesses, in which the user is tricked to operate inside their accounts on the criminal’s behalf.

“New digital channels such as chatbots and WhatsApp-based transactions will become favourite targets,” adds Rivner.

So how should organisations prepare themselves? 

“Don’t add visible digital security layers. Add covert, behind-the-scenes security that is difficult for criminals to fight,” he advises.

Rivner will be presenting a keynote titled ‘News from the kingdom and tales from the colonies’, during ITWeb Security Summit 2020, to be held from 23 to 25 June at The Sandton Convention Centre.

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