Arup Hong Kong Employee Targeted in $25 Million Deepfake Scam

Arup Hong Kong Employee Targeted in $25 Million Deepfake Scam

In a shocking turn of events, Arup, the renowned engineering company responsible for iconic structures like the Sydney Opera House and Apple’s California headquarters, fell victim to a sophisticated deepfake scam. An employee in Arup’s Hong Kong office unwittingly transferred HK$200 million (approximately $25.6 million) to fraudsters after being deceived by a digitally recreated version of the firm’s chief financial officer (CFO).

The incident unfolded when the employee participated in a video call, believing they were interacting with the actual CFO and other colleagues. However, everyone else on the call was an AI-generated deepfake, skillfully crafted using publicly available video and audio recordings. During the call, the employee received instructions to transfer the substantial sum across 15 transactions to five local bank accounts.

The Aftermath

It took approximately a week for the employee to realize the deception and report it to Arup’s headquarters. The investigation is ongoing, and no arrests have been made thus far. Arup promptly notified the police about the incident, emphasizing that their financial stability and business operations remained unaffected, and none of their internal systems were compromised.

The Rise of Deepfake Scams

Deepfakes, fueled by advancements in artificial intelligence, pose a growing threat to companies and individuals alike. In this case, Arup’s reputation and financial security were at stake, highlighting the need for vigilance and awareness in the face of evolving cyber fraud.