How to Protect Yourself From Deepfakes: 13 Tips to Follow

Deepfakes are AI-generated videos or audio that manipulate content to deceive people. For example, deepfake generators can create convincing videos or images that falsely depict celebrities engaging in certain activities. This can include anything from fake interviews to explicit content, potentially damaging victims’ reputations and credibility.

Although the use of deepfake software is a growing concern in the entertainment industry, deepfakes also pose risks to consumers by spreading misinformation and invading privacy. Consumers must be cautious online, verify sources, and be aware of the potential harm caused by deepfakes.

One way to identify deepfakes is with deepfake protection tools that use a variety of sophisticated techniques to detect and mitigate the risk of media content that’s been manipulated.

Key Takeaways

  • Between 2022 and 2023, there has been a 10x increase in the number of deepfakes detected worldwide across all industries.
  • 61% of UK women are concerned about becoming a victim of deepfake pornography, according to new research from ESET.
  • Although the use of deepfake makers is a growing concern in the entertainment industry, deepfakes also pose risks to consumers.
  • AI deepfakes are improving, making it easier than ever to fall prey to scams that deploy them.
  • You can detect them with deepfake protection tools that use a variety of techniques to detect and mitigate the risk of manipulated media content.

AI Deepfakes Are Getting Better

AI deepfakes are improving, making it easier than ever to fall prey to scams that deploy them.

Adam Levin, an expert on identity theft, privacy, cybersecurity, fraud, and personal finance told Techopedia:

“There is no failsafe way to identify a deepfake; however, you should trust your senses. If something feels ‘off’ during a phone call or video session, hang up and contact the person directly to confirm it’s actually them. Strange movements and stiff body language, muddled audio quality, and short or unexpected responses to questions may be signs that you are dealing with a deepfake.”

Joseph Thacker, principal AI engineer and security researcher at AppOmni, which focuses on software-as-a-service security, agrees with Levin.

Advertisements

“If you have an online presence with videos and pictures, there’s no way to prevent someone from making a deepfake of you,” he says. “The problem is similar to other forms of copyrighted material – enforcement needs to be placed on usage and distribution, not on creation. Copyrighted material can be easily created, reproduced, and distributed by others without the original creator’s permission.”

Scammers using deepfakes will limit communication to evade detection, so if you are pushed to provide sensitive information, slow the conversation down and ask for more details, Levin says.

“When in doubt, end the communication, Google the correct contact for whomever called, making sure that you are not looking at a sponsored link (these can belong to a scammer), and then get in touch with them directly,” he adds.

13 Ways to Protect Yourself From Deepfakes

A chart showing how to protect yourself from deepfakes

Here are some tips from experts on how to protect yourself from deepfakes.

Addressing the challenge of deepfakes, particularly in the context of identity theft, is not going to be easy for the common consumer, says Jim Kaskade, CEO of Conversica, a provider of conversational AI solutions.

That being said, consumers can adopt certain strategies to attempt to protect themselves from the risks posed by deepfakes.

1. Educate Yourself

Knowledge is power. Learn how to spot deepfakes by familiarizing yourself with their common signs, such as unnatural blinking, inconsistent lighting, and awkward facial expressions or movements.

Kaskade told Techopedia:

“Sophisticated consumers can use content authentication tools, such as Originality.AI, Grover, Kazan SEO, Sapling.ai, Crossplag, and CheckForAI, or sophisticated AI-generated photo and video deepfake tools from Microsoft, Intel, Sentinel, and WeVerify.”

2. Watch What You Share

Between 2022 and 2023, there has been a 10x increase in the number of deepfakes detected worldwide across all industries, with differences across regions, says Pavel Goldman-Kalaydin, head of AI/ML at Sumsub, an identity verification and fraud prevention platform.

For example, between 2022 and 2023, there was a 1,740% increase in deepfakes in North America, 1,530% in the Asia-Pacific region, 780% in Europe, 450% in the Middle East and Africa, and 410% in Latin America.

Consequently, users should avoid sharing personal details on public platforms as scammers can easily harvest this information with AI tools, says Goldman-Kalaydin.

“We would also recommend users regularly review their social media profiles and ensure the security of their online accounts,” he says. “Simultaneously, we recommend consumers be cautious about sharing personal photos online.”

3. Adjust Privacy Settings

Adjusting the privacy settings on apps, understanding the terms and conditions of AI apps, and not sharing high-resolution, unedited photos, which can be easily manipulated, help users protect their own images, according to Goldman-Kalaydin.

Kaskade is of the same opinion.

“Regularly check your social media settings and online presence,” he says. “Be [aware] of the information you share online. The less personal information available publicly, the less material there is for potential misuse.”

4. Beware of Account Takeovers

Consider that account takeovers, including those of your social media accounts, are a way deepfakes might spread, says Christophe Van de Weyer, CEO of Telesign, a provider of customer identity and engagement solutions.

“It’s one thing for a random, anonymous social media account to share a deepfake,” he says. “But imagine that a bad actor takes over your account and shares a deepfake of you saying or doing something inappropriate.”

It’s not far-fetched. Last year, a scammer took over the Securities and Exchange Commission’s X account and shared false regulatory information, according to Van de Weyer.

There is the potential that the same thing could happen on a smaller scale, for example, to bully a teenager or embarrass a business leader.

Melissa Ruzzi, director, artificial intelligence at AppOmni, concurs that consumers should reduce their online public visibility, such as posting pictures and personal information on social media. She told Techopedia:

“You should request that websites providing people search features remove your personal information. Also be very selective when accepting new contact requests on social media, they may just be criminals phishing for information.”

5. Understand Trusted Sources

Users should also learn how to distinguish between genuine and manipulated content, starting with understanding the sources of information and verifying them through cross-referencing with reputable sources – this applied even before GenAI, says Kaskade.

6. Use Watermarks on Photos

When users share images or videos online, they should consider using digital watermarks on them. Watermarks help prevent deepfakes by adding a visible marker to the original content.

This helps to identify the source and authenticity of the material, making it harder for malicious actors to pass off manipulated content as real, thereby protecting individuals’ reputations and privacy.

7. Use Two-Factor Authentication

Standard identity theft techniques still apply, according to Kaskade. So, you should ensure you have two-factor authentication enabled on all your online accounts.

He said:

“This adds an extra layer of security, making it more difficult for attackers to gain access to your accounts, even if they have some of your personal information.”

Van de Weyer agrees. The good news is that users can guard against these kinds of account takeovers, he says. Set up strong, multi-factor authentication for all your critical accounts, including social media accounts.

“That way, if a criminal gets your password or steals your phone number, they are less likely to get into your social media account and share a deepfake with your network of contacts,” Van de Weyer says.

When one factor, such as a password or phone number, is breached, a second factor, or even better, a third factor, such as a one-time passcode sent to an email address, can make a major difference, he adds.

“You can add even more factors, such as an authenticator app,” Van de Weyer says. “The goal is to make it far harder for someone to take over your social media accounts and seek to embarrass you, libel you with a deepfake, or spread disinformation.”

8. Implement Advanced Security Software

Use trustworthy antivirus and anti-malware software that incorporate features to protect against phishing attacks and suspicious activities, Kaskade says.

Some software now also offers protection against identity theft and can alert you to potential deepfake scams.

9. Be Skeptical of Unsolicited Contacts

If you receive unexpected requests for personal information or money, especially through digital communication, verify the identity of the requester through independent means before responding, Kaskade notes.

10. Secure Personal Documents

Store sensitive documents, such as your passport or driver’s license, securely, Kaskade says. Avoid sharing copies of these documents unless absolutely necessary, and always use secure methods when you must share them digitally.

Ensuring that important documents are kept safe and old documents with personal details are shredded can help stop them from falling into the wrong hands, according to Goldman-Kalaydin.

11. Update Passwords Regularly

Use strong, unique passwords for different accounts and update them regularly, Kaskade says.

Consider using a reputable password manager so you can keep track of your passwords.

12. Advocate for Digital Identity Verification Tools

Support and use platforms that implement advanced identity verification methods, such as biometric verification, to ensure that interactions are with real individuals rather than deepfakes, Kaskade says.

13. Report Deepfakes

If you encounter deepfake material that involves you, it’s critical that you report it to the hosting platform. This can help to get it removed – or at least investigated – reducing its potential impact.

Additionally, you should report any deepfake material to federal law enforcement authorities.

The Bottom Line

The use of deepfakes has brought about a new challenge in the fight against false information and character assassination.

However, taking the steps we’ve provided can help you safeguard your online identity.

FAQs

Can you get in trouble for creating deepfakes?

Is deepfake AI legal?

Are deepfakes identity theft?

How to fight against deepfakes?

Advertisements

Related Reading

Related Terms

Advertisements
Linda Rosencrance
Technology journalist

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer and editor based in the Boston area, with expertise ranging from AI and machine learning to cybersecurity and DevOps. She has been covering IT topics since 1999 as an investigative reporter working for several newspapers in the Boston metro area. Before joining Techopedia in 2022, her articles have appeared in TechTarget, MSDynamicsworld.com, TechBeacon, IoT World Today, Computerworld, CIO magazine, and many other publications. She also writes white papers, case studies, ebooks, and blog posts for many corporate clients, interviewing key players, including CIOs, CISOs, and other C-suite execs.