After a hack, several Russian TV channels broadcast a ‘deepfake’ of Putin

Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskovhas reported this Monday that a fake speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin on evacuation in the regions of Kursk, Belgorod and Bryanskon the border with Ukraine, has been broadcast on some television networks due to a hack.

“There was a hack in some regions. Specifically, there was a hack in the Radio Mira and in some media. The content has already been removed and everything is under control,” Peskov explained, adding that an investigation is already underway.

Specifically, the video released was a deepfake of the Russian president, a type of technology that allows modifying or replacing both the face and the voice of people, as revealed by the first investigations into the incident, as reported by the news agency TASS.

The audio of the recording, which emulating an emergency speech by Putinspecified that a immediate evacuation of the population before the entry of Ukrainian troops in the aforementioned regions, while the application of martial law in the country was also reported for this reason.

The Interstate Radio and Television Company (MTRK) has also issued a notice about the “falsification” of the message and has made it clear that the recording, as well as the information broadcast from 12:41 p.m. to 1:18 p.m. (local time) are “provocations.”

The danger of deepfakes

The technique of deepfakebased on the creation of audiovisual resources through artificial intelligence, constitutes “a revolution” for digital media, just as it was, in its day, the printing press of Johanes Gutenberg, the cinema or television.

Another misuse of this technique occurred at the start of the war when a Ukrainian television channel was hacked and a fake video was broadcast, in which President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the Ukrainians to surrender.

This technique allows manipulating a moving image to “make it look like someone else’s,” he added in an interview with the news agency EFE PhD in Audiovisual Communication and professor of the Degree in Digital Design at the International University of La Rioja (UNIR, Spain), Nadia McGowan.

American actor Bruce Willis recently sold the rights to his image to be used in future projects using artificial intelligence, and so do other celebrities.

Currently, there are applications that allow you to do this on cell phones, “which opens up possibilities for manipulation,” stresses McGowan; He also warns of the risks of him, since “can be used for good or for evil or to entertain, like any other technology”.

In this sense, it recognizes that the first applications of the deepfake they were “very bad”, since “there were people who manipulated pornographic photographs by embedding the photo of famous actresses in them, and the same thing happened with certain videos”.

Another misuse of this technique, he recalls, occurred at the start of the Ukrainian war for the Russian invasion, when a ukrainian television channel was hacked -their computer systems were illegally accessed- and the a fake video, in which President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the Ukrainians to surrender.

“It wasn’t a particularly good deepfake because the voice was so flat, the face looked two-dimensional, and the movement was fluctuating,” McGowan emphasizes.

The positive part was that the Ukrainian government previously alerted the population that a situation like this could occur, so “there was an education in the public on this matter.”

(With information from EP and EFE)

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