AI voice, fake WhatsApp account: How scammers targeted CEO of world’s biggest ad firm using deepfake – Times of India


Mark Read, the CEO of WPP – the world’s largest advertising company as of 2023 – has reportedly been targeted by scammers. A report says that fraudsters used a deepfake technique to set up a call but were unable to successfully execute the cyber attack.

Scammers used publicly available photos, videos

According to a report by The Financial Times, the scammers used Read’s voice clone and public YouTube footage to set up a Microsoft Teams call with senior executives.Citing an email sent by Read to colleagues, the publication reported that the scammers used a publicly available photo to set up a fake WhatsApp account under his name.
A Microsoft Teams call was also arranged between one of his agency heads, another senior executive and the scammers. At the Teams meeting, a voice clone and YouTube footage of the other executive was used while scammers impersonated Read off-camera using the chat function.
“The pretext was that the individual targeted was being asked to set up a new business with the ultimate aim of extracting personal details and money. Fortunately the attackers were not successful,” Read has been quoted as saying.

Read sends a warning message to employees

Read has also warned his colleagues that WPP had “seen increasing sophistication in the cyber attacks on our colleagues, and those targeted at senior leaders in particular”.
The CEO added that the attack, which was first reported in the Guardian, showed “how these techniques are specifically designed to target individuals at a level that is far more tailored and psychological than the scams defrauding the vulnerable or general public”.
A WPP spokesperson said: “Thanks to the vigilance of our people, including the executive concerned, the incident was prevented.”
WPP is investing in AI technology, which will enable the company to reproduce images of its clients’ products at a mass scale for consumers.

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