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Deepfakes and Cyber Scams: Emerging Threats Every Business Needs to Know

As technology advances, so do the methods of cybercriminals who exploit these innovations to perpetrate increasingly sophisticated scams. At Enterprise Defence, we have been closely tracking incidents in the national and global media that not only highlight the capabilities of emerging threats like deepfakes, cloning legitimate businesses, and malicious malware but also demonstrate the grave societal impacts of nonconsensual pornography. These case studies serve as critical lessons for the cybersecurity community and businesses worldwide.

Deepfake technology

The Sophistication of Deepfake Scams: A Hong Kong Case Study

In January 2024, a multinational firm in Hong Kong fell victim to an unprecedented deepfake scam, losing approximately HK$200 million (US$25 million). Fraudsters used deepfake technology to impersonate the CFO and other key personnel in a video conference, tricking an employee into making multiple large bank transfers. This incident underscores the pressing need for businesses to adopt advanced verification and security measures capable of countering such high-tech fraud.

Cloning Legitimate Businesses: The Case of ‘Active Pension Investment Limited (Clone)’

In September 2023, the Central Bank of Ireland issued a warning about a fraudulent entity calling itself Active Pension Investment Limited (Clone) or API. Operating without the necessary authorisation, this clone firm reached out to consumers through a sophisticated setup involving a fake website and multiple email addresses, offering deceptive investment opportunities in “low-risk” bonds. By cloning the name, address, and regulatory details of the legitimate Active Pension Investment Limited, the scammers lent an air of legitimacy to their fraudulent activities.

Central Bank of Ireland
iPhone The 'Gold Pickaxe' Malware

Emerging Threat: The ‘Gold Pickaxe’ Malware

Adding to the complexity of cyber threats is the new iOS and Android trojan named ‘Gold Pickaxe.’ Detected by Group-IB and associated with the Chinese threat group ‘GoldFactory,’ this malware employs a social engineering scheme to trick victims into scanning their faces and ID documents. The collected data is believed to be used to generate deepfakes for unauthorised banking access. This ongoing campaign represents a significant threat to personal and organisational security.

The Deepfake Scandal Involving Taylor Swift

The misuse of AI-generated deepfake pornography has also emerged as a disturbing trend. In January 2024, deepfake pornographic images of Taylor Swift rapidly spread through social media platforms, with one image garnering 47 million views before removal. This incident is part of a larger problem where nonconsensual deepfake pornography is used as a tool of misogyny and control. Despite the public outcry and eventual takedown of these images, the episode highlights the severe impacts and challenges in controlling the distribution of such harmful content. The incident stresses the need for more robust legal and technological solutions to protect individuals from nonconsensual digital exploitation.

Taylor Swift Deepfake Cyberattack

The Risks and Recommendations

These incidents highlight different types of modern cyber threats—from cutting-edge technology like deepfakes to more traditional deceptive practices like cloning, malware exploits, and the disturbing rise of nonconsensual pornography. They underline the critical need for businesses to:

  1. Enhance Employee Training: Educate staff regularly about the latest cybersecurity threats and the importance of verifying information.
  2. Implement Robust Verification Protocols: Utilise multi-factor authentication and advanced digital verification technologies to ensure the authenticity of communications and transactions.
  3. Monitor and Respond: Employ monitoring tools to detect unauthorised use of corporate identity and respond promptly to any threats.


As cybercriminals continue to refine their techniques, it becomes imperative for businesses to not only react to emerging threats but also to anticipate and prepare for them. By understanding these sophisticated scams, companies can better protect themselves and their stakeholders from significant losses. At Enterprise Defence, we remain committed to providing cutting-edge insights and solutions to help navigate and mitigate the complex landscape of cyber threats.

For ongoing updates and more information on how to protect your business, follow Enterprise Defence on LinkedIn.