McAfee has released new research exploring the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the rise of deepfakes on consumers. The data, from research conducted in early 2024 reveals that nearly 1 In 4 Indians (22 per cent) said they recently came across a political deepfake they later discovered to be fake.

According to the survey, in the past 12 months, 75 per cent of people said they’ve seen deepfake content, 38 per cent have encountered a deepfake scam, and 18 per cent have been victims of a deepfake scam.

Of the people who encountered or were the victims of a deepfake scam 57 per cent mistook a celebrity deepfake for real, with 31 per cent losing money to scams. 40 per cent had their voice cloned to trick someone, and 39 per cent received calls sounding like friends or family. Additionally, 37 per cent had their likeness used in explicit content, and 22 per cent believed political candidate deepfakes to be real at first.

“The ease with which AI can manipulate voices and visuals raises critical questions about the authenticity of content, particularly during a critical election year.” said Pratim Mukherjee, Senior Director of Engineering, McAfee. “We encourage consumers to maintain a healthy sense of skepticism. Seeing is no longer believing, and it is increasingly becoming important to take a step back and question the veracity of the content one is viewing.”

The data also showed that nearly 80 per cent people are now more concerned about deepfakes than they were a year ago. When asked about the most concerning uses of deepfakes, respondents cited cyberbullying (55 per cent), fake pornography (52 per cent), scams (49 per cent), impersonating public figures (44 per cent), undermining media trust (37 per cent), influencing elections (31 per cent), and distorting historical facts (27 per cent).

Earlier this year, McAfee announced its deepfake detection technology, Project Mockingbird. According to the computer security software company, it was developed by McAfee Labs to help defend consumers against the threat of cybercriminals by identifying whether the audio in a video is AI-generated.

(Inputs from BL intern Vidushi Nautiyal)