Deepfakes – What They Are and How to Spot Them

Deepfakes are highly realistic videos or images created using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. Deepfakes can be used to create fake news or propaganda, to defame or blackmail individuals, or to spread false information.

Deepfakes were first used to create fake celebrity pornographic videos in 2017 when a Reddit user started to post clips that he had compiled with his own home computer.  The Reddit user collected thousands of photos of famous people from the internet and used them to train a computer program to replace the faces of real porn actors with computer-generated faces of celebrities. 

Since then, the technology has advanced rapidly, and it is now possible to create convincing deepfakes of anyone using just a few images or videos.

One famous deepfake is a video of Richard Nixon announcing that the Apollo astronauts had died. The video shows a realistic-looking Richard Nixon delivering a speech in which he announces that the Apollo astronauts have tragically died on their mission to the moon. The speech is accompanied by somber music and images of the Apollo spacecraft in orbit and on the lunar surface. The purpose of the deepfake was to demonstrate how easy it is to create convincing fake news or propaganda using deepfake technology. It was also intended to highlight the potential dangers of deepfakes in the context of politics and elections, where they could be used to sway public opinion or discredit political opponents. The deepfake of President Nixon was created by a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as part of a project to raise awareness about the dangers of deepfakes.

The deepfake was created by training an AI model on hours of archival footage of Richard Nixon speaking, as well as audio recordings of his voice. The model was then able to generate new footage of Nixon speaking that was highly realistic and virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

Besides the dangers of deepfakes being used to sway public opinion and discredit political opponents, deepfakes can be used to blackmail people and spread false “information.” When people see videos of experts speaking, they tend to give them more credibility than written or second hand information.

There are several tips and tricks that I recommend for spotting deepfakes. These include looking for strange visual artifacts, such as mismatched facial features or unnatural movements. You can also listen for inconsistencies in the audio. Finally, you can check the source URL of the video in your browser. Did it come  website you recognize?  Did it come from an official or corporate website or YouTube channel? Finally, you can Google the subject matter to look for collaborating articles – or articles refuting what the video says or shows.

Deepfake detection technology is rapidly improving, and there are now several tools available that can help identify deepfakes with a high degree of accuracy. Here are a few:

  1. Sensity AI: Sensity AI is a deepfake detection tool that uses artificial intelligence to analyze videos and images for signs of manipulation. It can identify facial inconsistencies, unnatural eye movements, and other visual artifacts that are indicative of deepfakes.
  2. Deeptrace: Deeptrace is a deepfake detection platform that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze videos and images for signs of manipulation. It can detect deepfakes in real-time and provides a confidence score to help users evaluate the authenticity of a video.
  3. Microsoft Video Authenticator: Microsoft Video Authenticator is a deepfake detection tool that uses AI to analyze videos and images for signs of manipulation. It can identify deepfakes with a high degree of accuracy and provides a confidence score to help users evaluate the authenticity of a video.
  4. Amber Authenticate: Amber Authenticate is a deepfake detection tool that uses blockchain technology to verify the authenticity of videos and images. It works by creating a unique digital signature for each video or image, which can be used to verify its authenticity.
  5. Truepic: Truepic is a platform that uses blockchain technology to verify the authenticity of photos and videos. It can detect signs of manipulation and provide a tamper-evident seal to verify that a video or image has not been altered.

It is important to stay vigilant and skeptical of surprising videos in the face of deepfakes. Due your due diligence. Ask questions. And do not hesitate to use these tools if you suspect something. Please comment about your experience with deepfakes or any of these tools.

A Holistic Approach to Success

Bill Walsh is a business coach and venture capitalist.  I had the pleasure of hearing him speak on March 15, 2023, at Success North Dallas.  He emphasized a holistic approach to personal and business success: Prioritize family, faith, and fun in your life to achieve success. He suggested dividing your goals into four categories:

  • Develop Expertise
  • Become Empowered
  • Seek Exposure
  • Execute Your Strategy

For each of these categories, he outlined specific actions a person can take and resources that are available to help.

Develop Expertise

Walsh thinks that it’s important for businesses to find a specific area to focus on to be successful. He advises entrepreneurs to make a cover for a book they plan to write, even if they haven’t started writing it yet. They can use a website like Canva to do this easily. After creating the book cover, entrepreneurs can make a Facebook page for their book and use the cover as a picture to show that the book is coming soon. Walsh also suggests starting a podcast by interviewing two people every month using a free platform called Anchor. Entrepreneurs can then post their podcast on Spotify to reach a wider audience.

Another resource that Walsh suggests is HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which is a platform that connects journalists and sources. Entrepreneurs can join HARO and offer their expertise to journalists who need content. This can help entrepreneurs build their personal brand and establish themselves as experts in their field.

To get funding for their business, Walsh suggests that entrepreneurs write one grant per quarter and aim for a small grant of 100K or less. He also advises entrepreneurs to use gift cards instead of traditional business cards. The gift cards should have a QR code and five important things to know about the business. Icons of social media platforms should be included on the cards instead of the social media names. Entrepreneurs should use a domain from GoDaddy and G Suites to get a professional email address.

Become Empowered

Walsh suggested that entrepreneurs should outsource certain tasks such as research, email, and social media management. This will allow entrepreneurs to focus on the bigger picture of their business. He also suggested building a board of advisors including organizations like SCORE Business and local influencers.  These advisors can provide valuable insights and support.

To learn from other business owners, Walsh recommended joining a mastermind group. He also suggested reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki for personal growth and success.

Walsh highlighted the importance of giving back to the community by supporting local charities without expecting anything in return. He advised entrepreneurs to build a team that is motivated and inspired by their leadership. Additionally, implementing a loyalty program and referral program can help build customer loyalty and attract new customers. A good referral program and a website that is easy to navigate, with a landing page that showcases your products, is also crucial.

Seek Exposure

To make a successful business, entrepreneurs should focus on exposure. Walsh suggests having a website that is easy to use and allows customers to buy a product in three clicks. Important information should be easy to find. Offering big product packages can also attract customers, and having a strong sales team can help close deals.

Writing a vision statement can help attract people to your business and using tools like can improve your written materials. LinkedIn Helper can also be useful for building connections and growing your network.

Social media is crucial, especially Instagram and Facebook, to promote your brand. When posting, make the posts organic and avoid putting links or hashtags in the posting. Once a post gets at least 50 likes or comments, then you can add links and hashtags in the comment section.

Walsh also recommended creating free video content using Twitch and possibly using Streamguard to help protect the content against piracy and theft.

Execute Your Strategy

Walsh stresses the importance of taking action to make things happen in your business. He recommends setting specific goals, making a plan to achieve those goals, and tracking progress along the way. Reading business books, attending conferences and seminars, and following up with potential clients are all ways to continue learning and growing your business.

Walsh advises focusing on your strengths and letting others handle areas where you may be weaker. A positive attitude, perseverance, and determination are also important in achieving success. It’s essential to care of yourself, your team, and your customers.

In summary, Walsh’s message is about finding balance between personal and professional priorities, building a strong team, and taking action to achieve your goals. Success requires a holistic approach that encompasses many different areas of life and business.

Cybersecurity Training at MIT

Here are 18 FREE courses from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) that will help build or sharpen your cybersecurity skills:

1. Cryptography and Cryptanalysis:
2. Advanced Topics in Cryptography:
3. Selected Topics in Cryptography:
4. Cryptocurrency Engineering and Design:
5. Network and Computer Security:
6. Computer Networks:
7. Data Communication Networks:
8. Network Optimization:
9. Introduction to Network Models:
10. Information Technology Essentials:
11. Information Technology I:
12. Introduction to Deep Learning:
13. Introduction to C++:
14. Computer Systems Security:
15. Database, Internet, and Systems Integration:
16. Computer Systems Engineering:
17. Communications and Information Policy:
18. Media Literacy in the Age of Deepfakes:

These courses can help you develop essential skills in high demand in the cybersecurity industry, such as risk assessment, threat analysis, and incident response.

By taking free MIT cybersecurity courses, you can gain valuable knowledge and skills that can help you advance your career or pursue a career in the cybersecurity field.

Thank you to Ron Sharon for compiling this list.