From protecting your password to protecting your identity

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This guest blog is written by one of our approved training providers for cyber awareness.

Imagine if somebody turned up at your workplace one day – they look like you, they know everything about you, they’re even using your name. It sounds like a film plot, doesn’t it?

In the online world, a scenario like this isn’t so far-fetched. In a time where we increasingly carry out our transactions online, from banking to shopping and use social media to share our life experiences, our identities are a very tempting target for cybercriminals.

Did you know?

Using artificial intelligence (AI), cybercriminals could take the photos and videos they find of you online and use them to create a convincing digital replica of you – this is known as a deepfake.

In the news

In February 2024 the images and cloned voices of Oprah Winfrey, Piers Morgan and Nigella Lawson were deepfaked and used to endorse a US influencer’s self-help course.

President Biden’s voice was altered by artificial intelligence tools to urge voters to skip a primary election in New Hampshire.

A deepfake audio of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, appearing to make inflammatory comments about remembrance weekend events nearly resulted in civil unrest.

There are many examples of how the manipulation of peoples identity is influencing the media we consume. But it is not just famous and influential people that are targets for this type of activity. Anyone with an online presence can be targeted.

What can you do about it?

Creating a deepfake is not illegal but under the Online Safety Act 2023 sharing illegal or ‘harmful’ content is. Among other things the legislation requires tech firms to moderate content on their platforms and remove content considered to be harmful.

But there are steps you can take to prevent your image, or your voice being used in manipulative, fraudulent or harmful ways.

Protect your identity by:

  • Being wary of apps that ask you to upload photos of your face, and always check the terms and conditions before doing so
  • Limiting the number of social media posts you make and don’t post excessive detail
  • Keeping your profiles locked down so only people you know and trust can see them
  • Always use long, strong passwords, and use a different one for every account
  • Use multifactor authentication and biometrics (such as fingerprint or face scanning) wherever available

But beware…

No matter what steps you take, there’s always a chance that a cunning cybercriminal can steal your identity. To protect yourself in case the worst should happen:

  • Regularly back up your data to a trusted cloud application (if you’re backing up work data, only use approved solutions)
  • Consider taking out identity fraud alerts with trusted providers
  • Keep an eye on your bank accounts for any unusual activity

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About the author

The TSC (The Security Company) has specialised in boosting data privacy and cyber awareness, targeted training, customised projects and role-based solutions for over 20 years. From their tailored subscription services, bespoke eLearning, awareness materials and behavioural assessments, they’re committed to helping organisations like yours instil long-term, security-conscious behaviours.

The author of this article is Bebe Lees who has been an SME Content Creator for TSC for over 7 years.