HSNW: Detecting ‘Deepfake’ Videos In Blink Of An Eye

By SIWEI LYU
Homeland Security News Wire
 
A new form of misinformation is poised to spread through online communities as the 2018 midterm election campaigns heat up.
 
Called “deepfakes” after the pseudonymous online account that popularized the technique – which may have chosen its name because the process uses a technical method called “deep learning” – these fake videos look very realistic.
 
Because these techniques are so new, people are having trouble telling the difference between real videos and the deepfake videos. My work with colleagues has found a way to reliably tell real videos from deepfake videos. It’s not a permanent solution, because technology will improve. But it’s a start, and offers hope that computers will be able to help people tell truth from fiction.
 
A new form of misinformation is poised to spread through online communities as the 2018 midterm election campaigns heat up. Called “deepfakes” after the pseudonymous online account that popularized the technique – which may have chosen its name because the process uses a technical method called “deep learning” – these fake videos look very realistic.
 
So far, people have used deepfake videos in pornography and satire to make it appear that famous people are doing things they wouldn’t normally. But it’s almost certain deepfakes will appear during the campaign season, purporting to depict candidates saying things or going places the real candidate wouldn’t.
 
Because these techniques are so new, people are having trouble telling the difference between real videos and the deepfake videos. My work, with my colleague Ming-Ching Chang and our Ph.D. student Yuezun Li, has found a way to reliably tell real videos from deepfake videos. It’s not a permanent solution, because technology will improve. But it’s a start, and offers hope that computers will be able to help people tell truth from fiction.
 
What’s a “deepfake,” anyway?
 
Making a deepfake video is a lot like translating between languages. Services like Google Translate use machine learning – computer analysis of tens of thousands of texts in multiple languages – to detect word-use patterns that they use to create the translation.
 
Deepfake algorithms work the same way: They use a type of machine learning system called a deep neural network to examine the facial movements of one person. Then they synthesize images of another person’s face making analogous movements. Doing so effectively creates a video of the target person appearing to do or say the things the source person did.
 
Before they can work properly, deep neural networks need a lot of source information, such as photos of the persons being the source or target of impersonation. The more images used to train a deepfake algorithm, the more realistic the digital impersonation will be.
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