Arup falls prey to £20m deepfake scam

British engineering firm Arup fell victim to a deepfake scam, resulting in a £20m loss after an employee was deceived by an AI-generated video call posing as senior company officials. Arup confirmed the incident involved the use of fake voices and images. The company notified Hong Kong police at the beginning of the year, revealing that the scam involved transferring HK$200m to criminals via multiple transactions.

Despite the significant loss, Arup assured that its financial stability and business operations remained intact, and no internal systems were compromised during the fraud. Rob Greig, Arup’s global CIO, highlighted the rise in frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks, including deepfakes, invoice fraud, and phishing scams. He emphasized the need for heightened awareness and vigilance among businesses.

The scam reflects a growing trend in advanced cyber-attacks targeting businesses worldwide. Hong Kong police are investigating, classifying the case as “obtaining property by deception,” with no arrests made so far. The incident underscores the urgent need for robust cybersecurity measures.

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