Is anyone surprised?
That's Not Good
Crypto bros beware. Binance CCO Patrick Hillman says that cybercriminals have been impersonating him using a convincing deepfake in order to take meetings with — and money from — a number of eager crypto projects.
"Over the past month, I've received several online messages thanking me for taking the time to meet with project teams regarding potential opportunities to list their assets on Binance.com," Hillman wrote on the Binance blog. "This was odd because I don’t have any oversight of or insight into Binance listings, nor had I met with any of these people before."
The exec further alleged that a "sophisticated hacking team" created the deepfake using video from "previous news interviews and TV appearances," then set up several meetings with various crypto enthusiasts. And apparently, the deepfake is pretty good — or at least "refined enough to fool several highly intelligent crypto community members." And that's striking.
Hillman didn't clarify how much money was taken, nor did he confirm how many fake meetings that the hackers got away with. But while there's no firm evidence to confirm Hillman's claims, it's not terribly difficult to believe. Deepfake tech — some harmless and hilarious, others ill-intentioned — has come a very long way in recent years. And deepfakes aside, the web3 world is rife with scams, schemes, and hacks of all kinds.
"Binance has zero tolerance for illicit activity in the crypto space as we see it as one of the greatest threats to the industry's growth," the exec continued in the blog post. "As a leader in the Web3 sector, we believe that we are responsible for ensuring the ecosystem's responsible growth – the kind that puts user safety front and center."
It also should be noted, however, that the fear of deepfakes might actually precede their actual prevalence. While these scams are definitely out there, some cases of high-profile "deepfake" crime have been debunked.
In any case, if any readers have a meeting scheduled with Hillman, it might be a good idea to take some precautions.
READ MORE: Hackers Use Deepfakes of Binance Exec to Scam Multiple Crypto Projects [Gizmodo]
More on deepfakes: Simon Cowell Shocked by Deepfake Copy of Himself