Deepfakes on the rise: Cybersecurity experts warn of increased video call scams in 2024

Deepfake video call scams are expected to rise in 2024. Cybersecurity experts offer eight steps to help individuals and organizations stay protected.

The year 2024 is expected to witness a significant rise in online criminal activity, particularly involving the use of deepfakes in video calls, according to cybersecurity experts. This alarming trend is attributed to a confluence of factors, including a surge in online activity due to numerous elections and high-profile events scheduled throughout the year.

Deepfakes, a sophisticated technology capable of manipulating video and audio recordings to realistically depict individuals saying or doing things they never did, pose a major threat in the digital landscape. These fabricated videos can be used to deceive victims into believing they are interacting with someone they know and trust, making them vulnerable to financial scams or the extraction of sensitive information.


A recent incident in Hong Kong serves as a cautionary tale. An unsuspecting individual was duped into participating in a video call seemingly involving colleagues, only to discover later that the participants were deepfakes meticulously crafted by hackers. This deceptive maneuver resulted in the victim unknowingly transferring a staggering €23 million to the perpetrators.

Furthermore, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar fell prey to a deepfake video scam in December 2023. He was misled into believing he was engaged in a video conversation with representatives of the African Union Commission, only to discover later that the individuals were impersonators.

These high-profile cases highlight the growing sophistication of cybercriminals and the potential for deepfakes to cause significant financial and reputational damage. Ken Sheehan, Operations Manager of Smarttech247, the organization hosting the upcoming Zero Day Con cybersecurity conference in Dublin, emphasizes the critical need for vigilance and proactive measures to combat this evolving threat.

“The emergence of new threats is a constant reality in the cybersecurity domain, and we anticipate 2024 to be a period of significant innovation amongst cybercriminals,” Sheehan warns. He emphasizes the expected rise in online activity due to numerous elections and events like the summer Olympics, creating fertile ground for exploitation by malicious actors seeking to exploit security vulnerabilities, both technological and human.

To combat this growing threat, Sheehan outlines eight crucial “golden rules” for individuals and organizations. These rules emphasize the importance of robust network security measures, including firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Additionally, continuous monitoring of systems and prompt response to security incidents are essential. Data encryption, both in transit and at rest, provides another layer of protection. Managing user access through strong authentication methods and vigilant monitoring further enhances security. Maintaining updated software and employing anti-virus and anti-malware software are fundamental practices.

Developing a comprehensive incident response plan ensures swift and effective action in case of a breach. Finally, regular employee awareness training and security audits are crucial in fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness and mitigating vulnerabilities. By adhering to these principles and remaining vigilant, individuals and organizations can significantly strengthen their defenses against the evolving tactics of cybercriminals.