Estonian Intelligence: Russians will develop deepfake threats

Estonian Intelligence: Russians will develop deepfake threats

Russia continues to be the ‘primary threat’ to the EU in cyberspace, presenting intensifying dangers in terms of online espionage, cyberattacks, and also a likely turn to deepfake technology in the near future, a new report from the Estonian intelligence services says.

Published on Wednesday (17 February), the annual security assessment from Estonia’s Foreign Intelligence Service noted that Russia continues to apply certain ‘KGB-style’ tactics in cyberspace to sow discord among Western societies.

The report comes after the disclosure in December that Russian state agents had most likely been behind the infamous ‘Solar Winds’ hack, in which internal emails at the US government and other Western institutions, including the European Parliament, had been accessed by malicious actors.

Estonia’s research states that in all likelihood, Russian special services will now seek to step up their development of so-called ‘deepfake’ technologies in the field of cyber warfare.

Deepfake technology involves the creation of synthetic media, generally, video material, using artificial intelligence and machine learning tools which allow for an individual’s facial expressions and speech to be doctored to appear real.

“In the future, the Russian services are likely to exploit deepfake technology,” the Estonian intelligent document states.

“This threat will be particularly high once technological development reaches a level where deepfakes are convincing enough to be unrecognisable to the human eye,” it adds, also noting that this will present challenges in the future in terms of the ability of the public to distinguish between true and false information.

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