Friday, July 12, 2024

Fraudsters impersonate African Union chair using AI

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

Fraudsters have impersonated the Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki.

Mr. Faki is the latest to fall victim to cybercrime after fraudsters deployed artificial intelligence tools.

As the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the secretariat of the African Union routinely writes to global leaders whenever he needs to place a call.

The letter known as note verbale is the standard procedure for scheduling meetings between the African Union leadership and representatives of other countries or international organisations.

But the fraudsters faked his voice and placed several video calls to European capitals, ostensibly seeking to arrange meetings.

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AU Commission has revealed that the cybercriminals used fake email addresses, too, pretending to be the organisation’s deputy chief of staff, seeking to arrange calls between foreign leaders and Mr Faki.

They held meetings with several European leaders, while using deep fake video alterations to impersonate the chairperson.

In a statement, the AUC said it “regrets these incidents,” reiterating the commission only uses official diplomatic channels to communicate with foreign governments, through their embassies in Addis Ababa.

“The African Union Commission reiterates its strict adherence to diplomatic protocol and exclusive usage of Note Verbale for high-level engagement requests,” Ms Kalondo said in a tweet.

The AU statement termed their fake emails “phishing,” an indication that they might have intended to steal digital identities to gain access to privileged information.

Deep fakes, the technology used by cybercriminals, are increasingly becoming popular and are sometimes used by certain entities to spread misinformation and propaganda.

They involve using artificial intelligence tools to develop someone’s image, voice and traits into a video of them doing or saying something they haven’t actually done.

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