Microsoft says Russian influence actors are using AI for misinformation campaigns about the upcoming Paris Olympic Games

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What you need to know

  • Microsoft has identified Russian actors leveraging AI to spread misinformation about the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.
  • The actors used AI to generate fake news articles and even a Netflix documentary to spread fear over terrorism and violence at the event, in an attempt to prevent people from attending.
  • This issue presents a need for resourceful tools to help people identify deepfakes and misinformation generated using AI as we edge closer to the election period.

Generative AI is undoubtedly revolutionizing the world, with major corporations like Microsoft, OpenAI, and most recently Apple claiming a stake in the landscape. However, the technology has raised many question marks among users centered on privacy, security, and its capability to spread misinformation and deepfakes.

The last bit is perhaps increasingly becoming a major threat with the elections edging close, coupled with the lack of tools and measures to help identify AI-generated deepfakes and misinformation. This is the case with Russian-based influencers reportedly leveraging AI tech to spread misinformation about the 2024 Paris Olympics (via The Hill).

According to a report by Microsoft's Threat Analysis Center, Russian actors have been leveraging the technology's capabilities to ruin the reputation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by spreading fear about violence at the Olympic Games via AI-generated videos, articles, and images.

For instance, Russian actor Storm-1679 leveraged AI to create a fake documentary on Netflix with a voice reminiscent of veteran actor Tom Cruise that presented the IOC in a bad light. The documentary was quite convincing per the report, as it featured Netflix's trademark intro coupled with corporate branding. It also included reviews and special effects, which according to Microsoft's report were geared toward creating an illusion that a lot of time was factored into the project, ultimately demonstrating "more skill than most influence campaigns."

Additionally, the threat actor has used the technology to generate fake news branded as 'reliable' from well-known sources like Euro News or France24. The Russian actor used these avenues as platforms to spread malicious lies, purporting that Paris is worried about the potential violence that could stem from the upcoming Olympic Games. 

Furthermore, Storm-1679 created fake videos that it presented as belonging to the CIA, urging people to stay away from the Olympic Games over terrorism concerns. The actors have complemented these attempts with misleading and fake articles criticizing President Emmanuel Macron.

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry at Windows Central. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. You'll also catch him occasionally contributing at iMore about Apple and AI. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.