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McAfee unveils AI tool to defend against deepfake audio at CES 2024
Mon, 8th Jan 2024

McAfee, the global online protection specialist, has revealed its latest AI-powered technology capable of detecting deepfake audio at the Consumer Electronics Show 2024.

This proprietary technology, named Project Mockingbird, is designed to protect consumers from the rising problem of cyber criminals applying AI-generated audio for scams that manipulate the public image of prominent individuals and cheat people out of money and personal data. It furthers the threat of cyber bullying.

Generative AI tools have become increasingly sophisticated, facilitating cyber criminals in staging more convincing frauds, such as employing cloned voices for impersonating a distressed family member requesting financial assistance. Cheapfakes, another form of deception, involve tampering with genuine videos by incorporating fake audio to misrepresent the words spoken by a known or trusted figure.

McAfee Labs, the innovation and threat intelligence arm of McAfee, has engineered an advanced AI model to distinguish between real and manipulated content.

Project Mockingbird combines AI-powered contextual, behavioural, and categorical detection models to ascertain if the audio in a video is likely to be AI-generated. With currently a 90% accuracy rate, McAfee's newly unveiled technology can identify and safeguard against deepfakes - a significant boost in cybersecurity.

Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer of McAfee, said, "With McAfee’s latest AI detection capabilities, we will provide customers with a tool that operates at more than 90% accuracy to help people understand their digital world and assess the likelihood of content being different than it seems.”

Much like a weather forecast allows you to plan your day, this technology offers the insights to make informed decisions about the veracity of content, he added.

Deepfake audio detection technology’s application is wide-ranging and will be indispensible amid the increase of AI-generated scams and disinformation.

"We'll help consumers avoid cheapfake scams where a cloned celebrity is claiming a new limited-time giveaway, and also make sure consumers know instantaneously when watching a video about a presidential candidate, whether it’s real or AI-generated for malicious purposes."

"This takes protection in the age of AI to a whole new level. We aim to give users the clarity and confidence to navigate the nuances in our new AI-driven world, to protect their online privacy and identity, and well-being,” Grobman continued.

As reported by McAfee, the reason behind the name Project Mockingbird comes from the group of birds that mimics or mocks songs of others, a behaviour related to the use of generative AI where cyber criminals clone voices in order to defraud consumers.

Consumer apprehensions about these advanced scams are rising, as indicated by McAfee’s December 2023 Deepfakes Survey. The survey shows that 84% of Americans are concerned about how deepfakes will be used in 2024, a 68% increase from the previous year.

One-third of respondents pointed out that they or someone they knew had been victimised by a deepfake scam, with most of these cases in the 18 to 34 age brackets. According to McAfee, as we move further into this AI-centric era, deepfake detection technology is bound to play an ever more crucial role in cybersecurity.