Russia, Ukraine ‘deepfake’ video, audio are concerns for US intelligence

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As tensions continue to rise in Ukraine and Russia, U.S. intelligence officials are on the watch for manipulated video and audio that could result in multiple cases of misinformation.

The FBI continues to wage a campaign against illegal deepfakes, as the technology continues to improve.

«Audio, video, text and images that are created to show something that didn’t necessarily happen, or never occurred,» FBI Cyber Division Unit Chief Pranav Shah said of deepfakes.

Shah tells Fox News the technology, once reserved for cyber wizards, is becoming more user-friendly. He says it is getting easier to make these digital deceptions, and they aren’t always illegal. Several parodies of Tom Cruise and other actors exist online.

TOM CRUISE DEEPFAKES ON TIKTOK POINT TO MORE SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH REALISTIC PHONY VIDEOS

The FBI gets involved if the video violates any federal laws, like extortion or fraud. Shah gave Fox News an example of the voice of a company executive being manipulated.

«The same inflection. The same accent, and they make a phone call and you can ask the employee as the CEO, to wire that money.» 

A similar situation happened in Hong Kong as part of an international heist that is still under investigation.

While the FBI won’t specifically comment on deepfakes as part of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, other intelligence sources say they are on the lookout for altered videos of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other key players.

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«I think we are just starting to see the tip of the iceberg on these,» cyber expert Matthew Canham told Fox News of deepfakes.

Canham has a stern warning for the public.

«I think it’s probably wise to check everything that you see,» he said. «Probably the more emotionally provocative it is, the more important it is to confirm the sources.»