Robin’s Newsletter #295

11 February 2024. Volume 7, Issue 6
No, 3 million toothbrushes didn't DDoS anything. But... Deepfake video used in CFO scam to steal £20 million. TfL has been trialling AI surveillance.
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This week

Deepfake scammer nets £20 million

  • Hong Kong police are investigating a scam at an unnamed company where an employee was duped into making payments totalling HK$200 million (£20M, $25M). The authorities said an employee reported the crime after “she received video conference calls from someone posing as senior officers of the company requesting to transfer money”. 
  • The company’s UK-based CFO invited the finance clerk to join a video call to discuss ‘confidential’ transactions, but police believe all other attendees on the call were deepfakes. Generative AI tools were used to synthesise the video and audio on the call, apparently sufficiently well for the employee to believe the request and execute fifteen transactions to five different accounts. The company discovered the scam a week later.
  • Encourage your finance team always to validate unusual or urgent payment requests using a separate communication channel. They can also counter this sort of deepfake video by asking them to raise their hand, turn their head, and ask other questions to confirm their identity.

TfL has been trialling AI video surveillance 

  • London Underground Is Testing Real-Time AI Surveillance Tools to Spot Crime]( Transport for London ran a proof of concept at Willesden Green tube station from October 2022 through September 2023, according to documents provided to Wired in response to a Freedom of Information request.
  • TfL plans to roll out the technology more widely across its network to detect and alert staff to eleven ‘problematic behaviours’, ranging from unattended items and antisocial behaviour to a person on the tracks and wet floors. The trial did not involve facial recognition.

Interesting stats

$1.1 billion paid by victims of cyber criminals in 2023, up from  $567 million (+94%) in 2022, as Chainalysis declares “a major comeback for ransomware”.

3,998 postings made on ransomware leak sites in 2023, up from  2,679 (+49%) in 2022, according to Palo Alto Networks, who link some spikes with MOVEit and Citrix Bleed vulnerabilities.  

Other newsy bits / in brief 

And finally


  Robin's Newsletter - Volume 7

  Espionage Volt Typhoon China Deepfake Generative AI Artifical Intelligence (AI) Business Email Compromise (BEC) Transport for London (TfL) Surveillance Ransomware payments Secure by Design Software liabilities Flipper Zero North Korea Ivanti DEF CON Data broker Spyware