A deep fake of ousted FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried has gone viral on Twitter. The video promised that victims of the crypto platform’s bankruptcy could receive money as compensation.
” As you know, our FTX exchange went bankrupt. In the video, it’s an almost playful Sam Bankman-Fried we see. The former boss of FTX, who is nevertheless at the heart of the scandal and who is accused by many of initiating the bankruptcy, goes on to say “ all users “than they should” don’t panic “. ” To compensate for losses, we have prepared gifts, and you can double your cryptocurrencies “, he says.
The video, although realistic, is nevertheless not real: it is a deepfake. Seen by Vice on November 21, 2022, the video was shared on Twitter for at least a few hours before being deleted, and it highlights the dangers facing users of the social network.
A classic crypto scam
The deepfakes is increasingly used to mislead Internet users. These are videos generated by artificial intelligence and reproduction of a personality’s appearance, and sometimes their voice. These videos are often used for nefarious purposes: to influence operations, such as the Ukrainian president’s profound call to his troops to lay down their arms; or to create pornographic content from the faces of certain women.
In the case of the Sam Bankman-Fried video, the goal was to scam people and take their money. The video linked to the site “ftxcompensation.com”, which has since been taken offline. According to Vice, which first spotted the deepfake and visited the site, the last of the visitors promised to double their crypto stake.
The site’s homepage, which features a large FTX logo and a photo of Sam Bankman-Fried, says he can pay up to ” $100,000,000 in crypto. For this, users need to send the amount they want to a crypto address, and “ when the sum is received “, the site promises that” return double the transaction “. This is a common crypto scam: when the money is sent to the address, the users will not get a refund, and of course they will not receive what they were promised.
According to Vice, which also inspected the address listed on the site, the equivalent of $1,000 was received in Ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain. So it looks like the scam has already claimed one or more victims before being removed.
The FTX scheme worked thanks to Twitter
The success of the scam was largely attributed to Twitter: the account that shared the video of deepfake is certified by paying a subscription to Twitter Blue. Thanks to the verification badge provided by the subscription, the scammer was able to impersonate Sam Bankman-Fried and use the same Twitter profile picture as the real founder.
This is one of the main problems caused by Elon Musk’s new Twitter: since November 9, paying Twitter subscribers receive a certification badge automatically, without having to verify their identity. The old proof of authenticity is now being hijacked by pranksters, some of whom have caused companies to lose a lot of money. But that’s not all: the subscription also gives the right to better visibility: tweets and replies are placed more, and therefore appear more on feeds Twitter users. For scammers, this is the perfect cocktail to ensure the success of their scam.
between the technology of deepfakes and certification available to everyone on Twitter, this type of scams is likely to increase: Sam Bankman-Fried’s video is surely just the first in a long list of scams using this technique.