Ukrainian broadcaster’s stream hacked, deepfake of Zelenskyy inserted into it

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A Ukrainian broadcaster was reportedly hacked and had a deepfake video of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “surrendering” inserted into its webstream.

Ukraine 24’s online feed broadcast a video purporting to show Zelenskyy informing citizens that he was “capitulating” and told them to “give up arms.”

After the video appeared online, it quickly raised alarm bells both in Ukraine and around the world.

It is not immediately clear who was behind the hack, but at least some sources are naming Russian operatives as likely culprits.

The video clip was quickly picked up by social media and has been circulating online, even though it has been officially discredited by Zelenskyy.

The clip appears to use so called “deepfake” technology that can use a combination of advanced algorithms and AI to create highly realistic videos that appear to be of someone, often famous, doing or saying something they never did.

Deep fake videos have been a key concern of cybersecurity experts in recent years as the technology has improved and the tools to create them become more widely available.

The availability of the technology even raised concerns that such clips could be used to interfere in the 2020 election, though those concerns ended up not playing out.

Since, by definition, deepfakes are highly realistic, they also raise concerns for news organizations that receive video content purporting to be of someone that could potentially be computer generated. This could lead to inaccurate reporting, perhaps even with dire consequences if major “announcements” are made via these types of clips and reported as fact.

Meanwhile, researchers and companies are attempting to develop tools that can detect deepfakes, with varying degrees of progress and success.