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Norton finds deepfakes and crypto scams rising in Australia

By Jessie Chiang
Fri 6 May 2022

Norton says it tracked more than $29 million in bitcoin stolen last year and expects this figure to continue to rise in 2022.

The company says in Australia, between January and March of this year, Norton thwarted more than 37,098,261 threats, the equivalent of around 403,241 threats per day.

That included 471,361 phishing attempts and 59,540 tech support scams.

Its latest Consumer Cyber Safety Pulse report found that deepfakes are being utilised by bad actors to scam consumers and spread disinformation. 

The Norton Labs team spotted deepfakes used to create fake social media profiles, fuel charity scams and other fraudulent ploys, and spread propaganda relating to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Norton says the possibility for deepfake abuse is growing exponentially as digital distribution platforms become more publicly accessible and the tools to create deepfakes become user-friendly and mainstream. 

Similarly, the company says the shadowy nature of cryptocurrency transactions has seen a growing number of cyberattackers deceiving profit-seeking investors, especially those new to the cryptocurrency market. 

Norton says the growth in scams increases as cryptocurrency becomes more widely adopted and as the crypto market’s value also increases.

The company says crypto scammers are able to capitalise on world events, including the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, to steal donations from philanthropic crypto investors.

Combined with rapid advances in AI, Norton says deep fakes and crypto scams are increasingly becoming more realistic, fast and cheap to create and are a rising cause for alarm for governments and businesses globally.

NortonLifeLock head of technology Darren Shou says scammers are always evolving their tactics to make their attacks look more believable.

“Cybercriminals are masters at profiting from deception, so it’s crucial for consumers to be aware of the latest scams and to critically analyse anything suspicious they encounter on the internet, whether on social media or in their inbox,” he says.

“We are here to help consumers navigate a changing digital world where you can’t always believe what you are seeing.”

The company says new threats emerge as cybercriminals combine tactics. By presenting realistic disinformation via deepfakes in a phishing scam that collects payment in cryptocurrency, a consumer would have little to no recourse.

Norton is a consumer cyber safety provider and, in March this year, announced its device protection solutions won four AV-TEST Institute awards. 

Norton 360 was awarded Windows Home User Best Performance and Best Protection awards, as well as the Best MacOS Security award. This is the seventh consecutive year AV-TEST has recognised NortonLifeLock products.

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