AI Phone Hacks Are on the Rise

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You now not only have to worry that email attachments are real. Now, there is a very real fear of Artificial Intelligence (AI) impersonating voices on phone calls. 

The trend has been rising, culminating in an official warning from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Criminals are impersonating employees in phone calls in an attempt to deceive potential victims into transferring money.

As AI continues to develop and evolve, like all forms of technological advancement, there comes both gain and risk.

With a proactive approach to cybersecurity, organizations should avoid fear and instead embrace education on the topic. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about AI phone hacks and how to prevent them in your organization.

What is an AI Phone Hack?

Hackers can use artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out targeted attacks on a large scale, including on iPhones and Androids. AI can automate attacks, making them faster, more scalable, and more sophisticated. Here are some ways hackers can use AI to attack iPhones:

  • Malware: Hackers can install malicious software on an iPhone or Android that can cause pop-ups and ads to appear, drain the battery, and make apps and web pages load slowly.
  • Phishing and social engineering: AI-powered tools can analyze large amounts of data to create personalized phishing emails, messages, and chatbots that are more convincing.
  • Deepfake technology: AI-generated deep fake videos and audio can be used for impersonation, leading to identity theft or manipulation of public opinion.

The Monetary Risk of Impersonation Hacks

The rise of the popular phone voice hack falls under the umbrella of long-used impersonation hacks. In short, cybercriminals pretend to be someone they are not to receive data or money illicitly. 

Last year, impersonation scams caused $1.1 billion in losses to organizations (reference). Read that number again. All that to say, the rise of impersonation hacks and AI phone hacks, specifically, is worth paying attention to.

In addition to the CISA warning, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning in March about scammers pretending to be FTC employees. The scam has resulted in thousands of dollars in fraud.

The average impersonation scheme cost an organization $3,000 in 2019 and $7,000 in 2024, a rising cost that is not a welcome change. In 2023, total losses from impersonation schemes were three times that of losses in 2020. 

Tips to Avoid Falling Victim to Impersonation Scams

Like all types of scams, there are strategies to avoid falling victim. Informed individuals are less likely to be successfully targeted. 

  • Use multi-factor authentication on all of your devices. Using this technology means you have to go through an extra step to log into your online accounts or websites that contain sensitive information — like online banking and bill pay. For instance, you may be texted a code to a registered device to confirm your identity, or maybe you have to enter a PIN or answer a security question.
  • Keep all your devices’ software up to date. Many of us use smartphones more often than laptops, desktops, or tablets. This makes it critical to keep your system up-to-date and secure. You don’t want to access your emails or sensitive information while using outdated apps or an old version of your phone’s operating system.
  • Use security software. You can eliminate many security threats with proven antivirus software. Get a subscription that will help protect your emails and your web presence.
  • Back up your data — and do it often. Despite your best efforts, should the worst happen, you want a recent point you can go back to to make your recovery efforts simpler.

The Future of AI and Cybersecurity 

As with most aspects of our world, AI has touched, it is unknown the true extent to which AI will change the world of cybersecurity. Like most things in the technological space, businesses are wise to understand and embrace the changes that AI brings to fortify their employees, data, and physical spaces. AI is here to stay – businesses can embrace it or deny it exists – the latter is a risky stance (in our humble opinions).

Here’s why it matters: losses due to online crime are ever on the rise, and 2023 was no exception. A 22% increase from 2022 to 2023 in losses to online crime was reported in the FBI’s 2023 Internet Crime Report. When $12.5 billion in losses is on the table, businesses are wise to pay attention and make a proactive plan to protect themselves as AI continues to have a heavy influence on cybersecurity.

Employee education and a robust cybersecurity plan will help protect your business. Ready to take the first steps? PK Tech is here to help. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with a member of our team today.