AI deepfakes are getting better at faking KYC verification

Binance’s Chief Security Officer has warned that the Deepfake technology used by crypto fraudsters to bypass ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) verification on crypto exchanges like Binance will become increasingly sophisticated.

More and more scammers are using Deepfake technology

Deepfake technology uses artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to create compelling audio, images, and videos that closely resemble a particular individual. While this technology has legitimate uses, it can also be misused for fraudulent and deceptive purposes.

According to Jimmy Su, Binance’s Chief Security Officer, there is an increasing number of scammers using deepfake technology to evade the exchange’s customer verification processes.

“Hackers search online for a plain photo of the victim, then use deepfake tools to produce videos to bypass the verification process,” Su said. He also stressed that these tools have become so sophisticated that they can even correctly respond in real time to audio instructions designed to verify that the requester is human.

“Part of the verification requires the user to, for example, blink their left eye or look left or right, look up or down. The deepfakes are now so advanced that they can actually execute those commands,” he further explained.

Counterfeit videos not always at the top level

However, Su believes that the faked videos are not yet at the level where they can mislead a human operator. “When we look at those videos, there are certain aspects that we can detect with the naked eye,” such as when the user has to turn their head to the side, Su noted.

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“Although AI can overcome this problem over time, it is not something we can always rely on.”
In August 2022, Binance Chief Communications Officer Patrick Hillmann warned that a “sophisticated hacking team” used his past news interviews and TV appearances to create a “deepfake” version of him.

Hillmann’s deepfake version was then deployed to conduct Zoom meetings with various crypto project teams, promising to list their assets on Binance – for a fee, of course.

“That is a very challenging problem to tackle,” Su noted when asked how to combat such attacks. He added: “Even if we can manage our own videos, there are videos that don’t belong to us. So one of the aspects is user education.”

Binance plans to release a series of blog posts to educate users about risk management. In an earlier version of the blog post, which covers a cybersecurity section, Binance stated that it uses AI and machine learning algorithms for internal purposes, such as detecting unusual login patterns, transaction patterns, and other “abnormal activity on the platform.”

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