What is DeepFake and how does it work?

deep fake 1
deep fake 1

Dernière mise à jour: 20 mai 2023

In the X-men movie, the character Mystique is able to change his appearance to look like everyone he wanted. This trait was one of the most powerful in science fiction, allowing a person to gain someone's trust before killing them.

La partner is an important element for human relations to function. And the cybercriminals always try to exploit it in different ways for malicious purposes.

Until now, the video was perhaps still something that could be believed. We said to ourselves that it was complicated to modify. Now it will once again be a media outlet that can no longer be trusted.

Discover the world of deepfake, imitate anyone to make them say and do anything.

What is Deepfake?

Deepfake is a computer method which allows to create fake videos based on artificial intelligence. Indeed, this technology is mainly used to superimpose existing videos on other videos (for example: the change of face of a person on a video).

Le word deepfake is formed from “ deep learning » (deep learning) and “ Fake“. This method can be used to create fake news and malicious hoaxes.

Today, thanks to open source programs, a day can be enough for a single person in the back of their room to tweak a deepfake of average quality but which will have its small effect.

One example is a deepfake of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. The video, posted on Instagram, reveals the whole truth about his social network and his intention to control humanity. Issue ? This video is fake!

How does a deepfake work?

The best known approach for create a deepfake is the substitution of one face for another et his animation as perfect as possible.

To do this, you have to take a person who looks a bit like the target and film them from different angles and lighting, asking them to make various facial expressions. Then, the program will use this base to artificially animate the real face of the target.

So, to animate a face, you have to have access to several thousand photos of a person, from different angles. Often collecting frame by frame of a video can be enough.

How to create a DeepFake?

To create a DeepFake, you need a powerful computer and a good dose of patience. Once these prerequisites are in place, you can let the artificial intelligence do its work by calculating the different images necessary to create your manipulation. A popular application on the market for this is face swap.

This program is written in Python and can be run on different operating systems. It is free and relatively easy to use. Its main objective is to perform a face swap in a video.

To use FakeSwap, the user must first provide hundreds of images of Character A (the target) and Character B (whose face will be applied). A possible source for these images is Google, DuckDuckGo or Bing. However, videos from interviews, public speeches, or films are a preferable source, as they will capture many more natural poses and expressions.

The program will then put these bases A and B into competition using neural learning, until a convincing result is obtained (the software indicates that an error rate of 0,02% is acceptable).


Then simply press “Create” to start producing the fake video. For more info, look at their official site.

The danger of DeepFake

One can imagine many uses of DeppFake, here are some of its uses.

Fake news or manipulation of information

At a time when “false information» seem to contribute to most of the world's woes, deepfakes have taken on the role of a propaganda tool. This video of Barack Obama show me how deepfake can be used for manipulate the truth and disclose information, en masse.

Deepfake offers a very powerful mechanism for those who would like manipulate public opinion.

Involuntary porn

Currently, most of deepfakes are used in theporn industry. A recent study on this practice found that women constitute the majority of victims in deepfake porn. In these cases, their faces are inserted into existing pornographic content. The goal is to ruin a person's reputation targeted beforehand.

Cybercriminality

Deepfake is the ideal technology to make improve social engineering used by hackers. Their strategy? Audio files reproducing voice of your boss are generated using artificial intelligence. They make a call and instruct you to make a money transfer. And presto, that’s it! This has already been done with the case of a British CEO who was led to transfer $ 240 to a fraudster.

Social engineering, a tactic used in many cybercrimes that manipulates natural human behavior by playing with our confidence, urgency, shame, etc.

Le sextortion, for example, is theperfect deepfake app. Sextortion is a form of blackmail. This is when someone threatens to send an intimate photo or video of you to other people if you refuse to send them money.

The scam generally comes in the form of an email informing you that you have been filmed on camera, in a “compromising position”. To prevent the video from being distributed, you must pay a ransom in bitcoin.

Fake videos or fake audio files are becoming more and more realistic and easier to make. The best weapon against this type of trickery remains your vigilance. So stay vigilant, scammers will always be one step ahead!