McAfee Claims Its Audio Deepfake Detection Tool Is 90% Accurate

By Decrypt January 12, 2024 In AI, John McAfee

Seeing and hearing is no longer believing, thanks to AI. Technology today allows easy and near-instant generation of high-quality deepfakes to amuse, confuse, or misinform the public.

Adapting to this new landscape, a company known for its legacy cybersecurity solutions is now expanding its reach, escalating AI content to the same level of risk as any other long-time malware threat. Although detection of AI-generated content has always been an uphill battle, tech firm McAfee says its solution—Project Mockingbird—works.

“This new, proprietary technology was developed to help defend consumers against the surging threat of cybercriminals utilizing fabricated, AI-generated audio to carry out scams that rob people of money and personal information, enable cyberbullying, and manipulate the public image of prominent figures,” the company said in an official announcement.

McAfee says Project Mockingbird uses a group of techniques to spot AI content, and in testing, its proprietary method has allegedly achieved a 90% accuracy rate in deepfake detections.

The product is not yet available on McAfee’s website, and Decrypt contacted McAfee to clarify whether this would be a standalone app or service or if it would be part of its already marketed suite of services like identity theft prevention or scam detection. The company did not respond before publication.

The threat of widespread deepfakes

Deepfake technology has advanced beyond mere visual manipulation to encompass audio as well, with platforms like ElevenLabs achieving remarkable voice cloning precision. Open-source alternatives, though less precise, meanwhile offer uncensored, resource-efficient options. This evolving landscape of digital mimicry raises profound questions about authenticity in the digital age.

A striking example of deepfake’s disruptive potential emerged in Argentina. As Decrypt previously reported, presidential campaign frontrunner Patricia Bullrich faced a scandal when audio recordings—allegedly of her pick for economy minister, Carlos Melconian—surfaced. Bullrich claimed the audio was AI-generated, edited fakes.

Despite advancing detection capabilities, as evidenced by companies like DeepMedia, the accuracy of these tools remains in doubt. In the realm of deepfake detection, the field is still in its nascent stages, grappling with identifying AI-generated content across texts, images, and videos.

The implications of this technological trend extend far beyond individual security breaches. The increasing sophistication of deepfakes threatens public trust, potentially influencing elections, and distorting public discourse.

As McAfee senior vice president and chief technology officer Steve Grobman aptly noted, “We build advanced AI that is able to identify micro characteristics that might be even imperceptible to humans.”

John McAfee’s legacy

John McAfee, the founder of McAfee Associates, was as notorious for his personal exploits as he was celebrated for his technological innovations. After creating the first commercial antivirus software, a landmark in cybersecurity, McAfee’s life took a dramatic turn. He sold his company and plunged into a world of controversy and extravagance, marked by luxurious parties and eccentric behavior, making headlines far removed from his tech genius.

Whale fucking. No joke. Each year, on Feb 1st, in the Molokai Channel, a few men compete in the world’s only whale fucking contest. Humpback whales are easy to fuck- for a second or less. World record: 31 seconds. I competed once. Almost got my ribs crushed. Stick with Ostriches.

— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) June 24, 2018

In his later years, McAfee’s name became synonymous with the crypto world, where he embraced the role of a crypto evangelist. His activities in this sphere were characterized by unabashed promotion of various cryptocurrencies—often dismissed by critics as “shilling’.’ Things took a darker turn as he found himself in a labyrinth of legal troubles and run-ins with the law, which included allegations of tax evasion and involvement in criminal activities.

In a dramatic final series of events, McAfee was arrested in Spain and faced extradition to the United States. Tragically, his life came to an end in a Spanish prison cell, where he was found dead, leaving behind a legacy mired in brilliance, controversy, and mystery.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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