NSA/FBI/CISA Cybersecurity Information Sheet TLP Clear: Contextualizing Deepfake Threats to Organizations

September 2023

Executive Summary

Threats from synthetic media, such as deepfakes, present a growing challenge for all users of modern technology and communications, including National Security Systems (NSS), the Department of Defense (DoD), the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), and national critical infrastructure owners and operators. As with many technologies, synthetic media techniques can be used for both positive and malicious purposes. While there are limited indications of significant use of synthetic media techniques by malicious state-sponsored actors, the increasing availability and efficiency of synthetic media techniques available to less capable malicious cyber actors indicate these types of techniques will likely increase in frequency and sophistication.

Synthetic media threats broadly exist across technologies associated with the use of text, video, audio, and images which are used for a variety of purposes online and in conjunction with communications of all types. Deepfakes are a particularly concerning type of synthetic media that utilizes artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) to create believable and highly realistic media. [1] The most substantial threats from the abuse of synthetic media include techniques that threaten an organization’s brand, impersonate leaders and financial officers, and use fraudulent communications to enable access to an organization’s networks, communications, and sensitive information.

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