Cyber Crime- Next Level
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Cyber Crime- Next Level - 09-17-2019, 01:09 PM

Thieves used voice-mimicking software to imitate a company executive’s speech and dupe his subordinate into sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a secret account, the company’s insurer said, in a remarkable case that some researchers are calling one of the world’s first publicly reported artificial-intelligence heists.

The managing director of a British energy company, believing his boss was on the phone, followed orders one Friday afternoon in March to wire more than $240,000 to an account in Hungary, said representatives from the French insurance giant Euler Hermes, which declined to name the company.

The request was “rather strange,” the director noted later in an email, but the voice was so lifelike that he felt he had no choice but to comply. The insurer, whose case was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, provided new details on the theft to The Washington Post on Wednesday, including an email from the employee tricked by what the insurer is referring to internally as “the false Johannes.”

Now being developed by a wide range of Silicon Valley titans and AI start-ups, such voice-synthesis software can copy the rhythms and intonations of a person’s voice and be used to produce convincing speech. Tech giants such as Google and smaller firms such as the “ultrarealistic voice cloning” start-up Lyrebird have helped refine the resulting fakes and made the tools more widely available free for unlimited use.

But the synthetic audio and AI-generated videos, known as “deepfakes,” have fueled growing anxieties over how the new technologies can erode public trust, empower criminals and make traditional communication — business deals, family phone calls, presidential campaigns — that much more vulnerable to computerized manipulation.

“Criminals are going to use whatever tools enable them to achieve their objectives cheapest,” said Andrew Grotto, a fellow at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center and a senior director for cybersecurity policy at the White House during the Obama and Trump administrations.

“This is a technology that would have sounded exotic in the extreme 10 years ago, now being well within the range of any lay criminal who's got creativity to spare,” Grotto added.

Developers of the technology have pointed to its positive uses, saying it can help humanize automated phone systems and help mute people speak again. But its unregulated growth has also sparked concern over its potential for fraud, targeted hacks and cybercrime.

Researchers at the cybersecurity firm Symantec said they have found at least three cases of executives’ voices being mimicked to swindle companies. Symantec declined to name the victim companies or say whether the Euler Hermes case was one of them, but it noted that the losses in one of the cases totaled millions of dollars.

The systems work by processing a person’s voice and breaking it down into components, like sounds or syllables, that can then be rearranged to form new phrases with similar speech patterns, pitch and tone. The insurer did not know which software was used, but a number of the systems are freely offered on the Web and require little sophistication, speech data or computing power.

Lyrebird, for instance, advertises the “most realistic artificial voices in the world” and allows anyone to create a voice-mimicking “vocal avatar” by uploading at least a minute of real-world speech.

The company, which did not respond to requests for comment, has defended releasing the software widely, saying it will help acclimate people to the new reality of a fast-improving and “inevitable” technology “so that society can adapt.” In an ethics statement, the company wrote: “Imagine that we had decided not to release this technology at all. Others would develop it and who knows if their intentions would be as sincere as ours.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/techn...d-major-theft/
  
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09-17-2019, 02:13 PM

Something tells me some 'verify' process will be implemented after this. Cyber criminals are worse than prison inmates that have all the time in the world to cleverly come up with "ideas".....so many of them living in their parents basements not working and nothing better to do besides play video games and think of ways to use technology to scam people....and after they come up with some "dream code", and eventually get caught....and subsequently sent to prison, the corporations they once hacked/stole from will hire them either as security coders or consultants.


If you tolerate this, then your children will be next.


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09-17-2019, 02:32 PM

Somehow I don't think this was the work of the Talking Moose

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talking_Moose

https://talkingmoose.ca/

Dave <-- had a Mac with the Talking Moose in the mid '80s and it never asked for money


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09-17-2019, 03:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
Somehow I don't think this was the work of the Talking Moose

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talking_Moose

https://talkingmoose.ca/

Dave <-- had a Mac with the Talking Moose in the mid '80s and it never asked for money
Ah, the Talking Moose! I remember him well.

I think he ran as a desk accessory (DA) at first, but maybe became a stand alone start-up program, eventually.

I had always wondered what happened to him. I am pleased to see (er, hear) that he still has employment doing voice-overs for Youtube videos.

I think it was the NR virus iirc. that utilized the Talking Moose voice to say 'don't panic!' A clear sign that one should immediately panic, of course.


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09-17-2019, 04:20 PM

On my Commodore64, the voice program was called "SAM"


If you tolerate this, then your children will be next.


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09-17-2019, 04:29 PM

How about Francis the " talking mule ".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9n1rAqyDSk
  
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09-18-2019, 04:34 AM

Or a real Moose.

Bullwinkle.


https://youtu.be/P7U_ZeffNGM

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09-18-2019, 03:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofla View Post
Ah, the Talking Moose! I remember him well.

I think he ran as a desk accessory (DA) at first, but maybe became a stand alone start-up program, eventually.

I had always wondered what happened to him. I am pleased to see (er, hear) that he still has employment doing voice-overs for Youtube videos.

I think it was the NR virus iirc. that utilized the Talking Moose voice to say 'don't panic!' A clear sign that one should immediately panic, of course.
There is a local connection ... the creator of the Talking Moose Dr Steven Halls (a radiologist) trained in my home town of Saskatoon At the time we had a very active Mac development group within the university and I suspect Dr. Halls hung out with those folks a bit.

Dave


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09-18-2019, 04:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
There is a local connection ... the creator of the Talking Moose Dr Steven Halls (a radiologist) trained in my home town of Saskatoon At the time we had a very active Mac development group within the university and I suspect Dr. Halls hung out with those folks a bit.

Dave
Huh! Canada and mooses? What's the connection?


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09-19-2019, 10:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofla View Post
Huh! Canada and mooses? What's the connection?
We got the biggest (2nd biggest perhaps) one

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saska...oose-1.5040644

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