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Deepfake scammers attack Mark Read

The fraudsters impersonated the WPP CEO using a fake WhatsApp account, voice clone and YouTube footage in a virtual meet.

WPP's CEO, Mark Read became the latest target of a deepfake scam. Read has warned the company's other senior leadership to be careful about the situation.

According to a report by The Guardian, fraudsters created a WhatsApp account with a publicly available image of the CEO and used it to set up a Microsoft Teams meeting that appeared to be with him and another senior WPP executive.

The fraudsters deployed a voice clone of the executive as well as YouTube footage in an attempt to solicit money. They asked the other leadership in the meeting to set up a new business and asked for their details. However, the attempt was unsuccessful.

“Fortunately the attackers were not successful. We all need to be vigilant of the techniques that go beyond emails to take advantage of virtual meetings, AI, and deepfakes. We have seen increasing sophistication in the cyber-attacks on our colleagues, and those targeted at senior leaders in particular," said Read in his email to other leadership of the company.

“Thanks to the vigilance of our people, including the executive concerned, the incident was prevented," stated a WPP spokesperson.

This is concerning as WPP-one of the biggest advertising firms in the world has made significant investments towards AI.  WPP announced last year that it was partnering with the chip maker Nvidia to create advertisements with generative AI, touting it as a sea change in the industry.

The rise of AI while has proven to be a boon for the creative industry and we are witnessing some very promising work coming out of the advertising industry. However, the technology is also being misused by miscreants to target celebrities, political candidates as well as corporate leaders.

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