Prembly on Deepfakes
Prembly on Deepfakes

Digital Security: Safeguarding eKYC with AI against Deepfake Threats


The utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) across various domains has witnessed an unprecedented surge in recent times. Reports indicate that the AI industry is projected to reach a remarkable value of $1.5 trillion by 2030. While this technology is anticipated to create over 97 million new job opportunities by 2025, it is also expected to displace approximately 85 million jobs during the same period. However, amidst the discussions surrounding AI’s benefits and drawbacks, one critical aspect that has received comparatively less attention is the potential for AI to be exploited in perpetrating identity theft or fraud.

There is growing concern among businesses regarding employing AI, specifically deepfakes, as a tool for fraudulent activities such as identity theft. The prevalence of this issue has prompted inquiries into the possibility of fraudsters harnessing AI for identity theft, particularly within the African context. This article aims to address the lingering question in the minds of many by examining the potential exploitation of AI by fraudsters for the purposes of identity theft.

AI, Biometrics, and Identity Verification Threats

A good place to start will be clarifying that while eKYC using facial recognition technology is becoming more popular in Sub-Saharan Africa, eKYC using speech recognition technology is currently less common and has yet to acquire universal acceptance. Many identity verification service providers have already provided their customers in emerging regions with facial recognition technology which they have already implemented in their verification processes. This pattern indicates an increasing interest in and using facial recognition technology for digital identity verification, owing largely to the fact that Facial recognition technology provides a convenient and secure method of authenticating identification, enabling speedy and seamless transactions in various industries.

However, it is important to note that voice recognition technology is also beginning to receive increased exposure in the digital ID space. Although it may be less prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, the potential for voice recognition to become more prominent across the continent cannot be overlooked. Voice recognition technology presents unique advantages and can serve as an alternative or complementary method to facial recognition.

As the digital ID landscape continues to evolve in sub-Saharan Africa, it is crucial to consider the potential role of voice recognition technology. While facial recognition is currently the preferred choice, voice recognition technology holds promise and may find broader applications in the future. By exploring facial and voice recognition technologies, businesses and organizations can stay at the forefront of digital identity verification and provide enhanced customer experiences.

However, this blog post will delve deeper into the emerging trends and potential impact of biometrics technology in the eKYC space in sub-Saharan Africa. By doing so, we aim to shed light on the evolving landscape of eKYC technologies and help businesses make informed decisions when implementing identity verification solutions.

The Rising Threat of AI Technology: Protecting KYC Protocols from Deepfake Audio

In today’s digital age, the availability of AI technology has opened up a world of possibilities for everyday users. However, with this accessibility comes the potential for misuse and exploitation. One significant concern arising from the proliferation of AI technology, such as deep fake audio, is its potential threat to KYC protocols.

As AI technologies are continually trained and refined, they become more sophisticated, making their threats increasingly significant. A prime example is the ease with which identity theft can now be performed. We’ve witnessed astonishing instances, like the image of the Pope donning a Balenciaga white buffer jacket created by the AI technology called Midjourney. The visual was so convincingly realistic that many people could not discern it as a fake.

Furthermore, picture and audio technology advancement has made detecting fake audio or visuals arduous. A notable case that exemplifies this challenge occurred in Nigeria, where a deep fake audio recording of a prominent government official surfaced, leaving authorities uncertain about its authenticity. The ease with which this technology can create false identities has reached alarming levels, and fraudsters are quick to employ these technologies to perpetrate identity theft, whether by generating new data or manipulating existing data. Consequently, it becomes increasingly challenging to track and assert the validity of a particular entity.

Moreover, the accessibility of these AI technologies can lead to further damage to organizations, institutions, and individuals. Consider the implications if a well-known government official falls victim to deep fake recordings during an election period. The response and criticism the official receives could significantly impact public perception. Similarly, the credibility of research work becomes increasingly difficult to ascertain, hindering the vetting process for researchers and schools. Financial grants allocated to schools may yield a different value as students resort to using technology tools to fabricate results.

These threats raise concerns about the financial security of consumers relying on biometric technologies, such as voice recognition, for security and executing in-app functions. Impersonation through deep fake audio and images can lead to identity fraud, resulting in financial losses and opening the door to other cybercrimes.

We’ve considered the Challenges, So What Now?

Fortunately, there are mitigation strategies to combat these threats. Integrating AI technologies into your onboarding systems can be highly effective. Organizations can enhance security measures by leveraging AI platforms to detect AI-generated identities before the KYC process verifies authenticity. Using AI to fight AI systems capable of detecting AI-generated voices or images proves one of the most promising approaches. Many businesses have already adopted such technologies, with systems that detect AI-generated text or images. Organizations can bolster their defenses by incorporating these systems into existing algorithms and effectively combat AI-generated audio and images.

Identitypass, the flagship product Prembly offers, is utilized by over 500 companies daily for digital verifications. These businesses span hundreds of regions and carry out thousands, or even close to a million, transactions daily. As part of Prembly’s growth strategy, we are expanding into emerging markets and introducing additional products like Identityradar, Identityform, and other business tools. Our unwavering dedication lies in making digital verification, online security, and compliance effortless, user-friendly, and highly secure.

In the face of growing threats posed by AI technology, organizations must remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding their KYC protocols. By leveraging the power of AI and integrating advanced detection mechanisms, we can maintain the integrity of digital identities and ensure a safer and more secure digital landscape for all.

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