Dubai USD 35m voice cloning heist

Occurred: October 2021

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According to a new Forbes report, Dubai investigators have discovered an elaborate scam in which deepfake technology was used to clone the voice of a company director and defraud his company of USD 35 million.

About to make an acquisition, the company needed its bank to authorise a series of transfers. A bank employee was fooled by the deepfaked voice into authorising the transfer of the cash, believing it was a legitimate business transaction. 

UAE authorities reckon the scheme involved at least 17 people. It is the second known case of fraudsters using deep voice tools to carry out a heist, and much the largest. 

Operator: Anonymous/pseudonymous
Developer: Anonymous/pseudonymous
Country: UAE/Dubai
Sector: Banking/financial services
Purpose: Defraud
Technology: Deepfake - audio; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning 
Issue: Ethics; Security
Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: October 2021