Deepfake ‘Face Swap’ Attacks Surged By 704% in 2023


New research has revealed that deepfake attacks using “face swap” technology surged by 704% in 2023.

According to a new report by biometric firm iProov, “face swapping” fraudsters are increasingly using widely available generative AI tools to create manipulated images and videos.

The research shows that there was a 704% increase in deepfake face swap attacks from the first to the second half of 2023.

According to the report, the most commonly used face swap tools by malicious actors are SwapFace, DeepFaceLive, and Swapstream.

These AI tools can create highly convincing deepfakes to trick humans and bypass certain remote identity verification solutions that request a “liveness” test of individuals.

A “liveness” test will typically ask an individual to look into a webcam, perhaps turning their head from side to side, in order to prove that they are both a real person and to compare their appearance to identity documents.

The manipulated or synthetic output created from these face swap tools is then fed to a virtual camera.

TNW reports that attackers will often combine these face swap tools with emulators — which mimic a user’s device, such as a mobile phone — alongside other metadata manipulation methods.

By using these tools, crooks can hide the evidence of virtual cameras, which makes the face swaps harder to detect.

“There has been a proliferation in face swap tools making it very easy to create, and inject, face swaps with very little technical knowledge,” Dr Andrew Newell, Chief Scientific Officer at iProov, tells TNW.

“Knowledge of these tools is spreading quickly through the information sharing forums, along with techniques to bypass many existing defences.”

The Rise of the Deepfake Scam

The reports comes after days after a Hong Kong-based finance worker was scammed into paying $200 million Hong Kong dollars ($25.6 million) to criminals after a virtual meeting with deepfakes.

Before this, the worker at the undisclosed company attended a video call with what they thought was the chief financial officer of the UK’s branch and other real employees — but they were all deepfakes. The incident is believed to be one of the biggest deepfake scams in history.

In the last year, the FBI has also warned about a rising number of scammers using deepfake technology to impersonate job candidates during interviews for remote positions.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.