by Dan Moren
Voice mimicking software used to ripoff energy company
Fascinating story by Drew Harwell in the Washington Post about thieves who used voice-mimicking software to impersonate the CEO of a German energy company and steal a bunch of money:
The victim director was first called late one Friday afternoon in March, and the voice demanded he urgently wire money to a supplier in Hungary to help save the company in late-payment fines. The fake executive referred to the director by name and sent the financial details over email.
The director and his boss had spoken directly a number of times, said Euler Hermes spokeswoman Antje Wolters, who noted that the call was not recorded. “The software was able to imitate the voice, and not only the voice: the tonality, the punctuation, the German accent,” she said.
This software’s not only getting better and better at imitating voices but, more to the point, cheaper and more widely available. Granted, this kind of scam still requires some research and background knowledge on the target, but the Internet has certainly made that a lot easier too.