Elon Musk deepfake crypto scams are on the rise and they’re getting better

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

Deepfakes are getting better, in two years they’ll be perfect, and that means you won’t be able to trust anything you see. And that’s a huge issue.

 

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A network of cyber scammers is defrauding people by streaming fake Elon Musk videos on YouTube, and they’re conning thousands of people by using DeepFake technology to trick people into thinking that Musk is really saying the things he seems to be saying in the videos. Namely, that he’s promoting new all too good to be true crypto deals. To do it the criminals are reportedly hijacking popular YouTube accounts and using the videos to promote fake cryptocurrency giveaways, and this month alone tens of thousands of people tuned into these streams over four days as reported by the BBC.

 

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The billionaire seems to be aware of the scams as he called out YouTube in a tweet this week using his favourite weapon of choice — memes.

‘YouTube seems to be nonstop scam ads,’ tweeted Musk on Tuesday.

 

The Future of DeepFakes, by keynote speaker Matthew Griffin

 

The fake streams seem to have been running for months, fooling thousands of people into sending cryptocurrency in the hopes of receiving a prize from Musk. The hackers routinely change the name and picture of these YouTube channels to make them look like official Tesla channels.

The scammers are thought to buy emails and passwords from previous online data breaches and then the streams direct viewers to links inviting them to double their money by sending Bitcoin or Ethereum to the advertised digital-wallet addresses.

 

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‘My followers on other social networks started asking me what is going on with the name of my channel and were very confused about why I was streaming Tesla content,’ Chilean urban-music artist Aisack whose YouTube channel was hijacked told the BBC.

 

 

‘It is very frustrating that your YouTube channel is hacked after dedicating so many years of work to it. I feel completely violated and insecure,’

‘We have strict Community Guidelines prohibiting scams, including Impersonation and hacking,’ YouTube told the BBC.

The vast majority of the fake live streams also show financial firm ARK Invest’s July panel with Musk, and a spokeswoman for ARK told the BBC that it ‘is aware of hacked third-party YouTube channels fraudulently posing as ARK’.

 

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‘These accounts are impersonators and not affiliated with ARK Invest in any way,’ she said. ‘ARK Invest will never use YouTube or other social media to solicit money, including cryptocurrency.’

However, as DeepFakes get better and begin to look and sound more authentic the only thing that’s guaranteed is that in the future there’ll be a lot more of these hoaxes and that a lot more people will get duped by them, which is why it’s more imperative than ever that companies and regulators alike better prepare themselves for what’s next.

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