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How Multiple Cameras Can Create Deceptive Video Calls

If someone has access to multiple cameras, they can switch between them during a video call to create a false impression.

Although flying cars and teleportation are still imaginative dreams, 21st century technology has advanced so rapidly that many futuristic details imagined in the 1980s have become a reality. For example, the ability to connect with others through live, real-time video streaming.   

In recent years, video calls have become a daily reality for many of us. Whether we’re facetiming with Grandma, or participating in a weekly Zoom meeting, remote face-to-face meetings are now par for the course.  

Although most video call hosting platforms employ a level of cybersecurity, there are still bad actors who will use video calls to scam and deceive others. It’s important to know how this process works, and that multiple cameras can be used to create deceptive video calls. 

The history of video calls         

Video calls first came on the scene long before the general public was made aware of them. In the 1920s, the first video chatting technology was introduced when future president Herbert Hoover appeared, from Washington, DC, on a screen in New York City.

Various tech companies tried to implement video conferencing over the course of the rest of the century, but were met with huge resistance. It would be almost 100 years after Hoover’s magical “video call” before this technology was refined and mainstreamed.  

In the early 2000s, platforms like Skype made video calls accessible and affordable for all of us. As the world experienced pandemic lockdowns throughout 2020, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, and Apple’s iPhone Facetime further cemented video calls as an inescapable, if not always welcome, part of our lives.

How video calls work 

By the 21st century, personal computers had webcam capabilities integrated into their basic software. Smartphone devices come with preinstalled, high resolution cameras and built-in Wifi capabilities. This technology enables video chatting to work fairly seamlessly.

Video conferencing platforms capture live video feeds via user permissions to access their webcams. Via the Internet, these platforms then transmit both audio and video in real time to intended recipients.

Different types of video calls

Each application or platform with video conferencing capabilities allows users to conduct a wide array of video calls. The most widely used types of video chats include:

  • Multiple user small groups
  • Large, remote conferences
  • Personal, one-on-one calls
  • Work meetings 

Most popular video conferencing platforms

Although video conferencing is offered by a large number of tech applications, they are not all created equal. Glitches and cybersecurity vulnerabilities can impact even the largest video call providers, but can prove unavoidable on smaller, unvetted host sites.

Some of the most popular video conferencing platforms include: 

  • Google Meet
  • GoToMeeting
  • Microsoft Teams
  • RingCentral
  • Skype
  • Slack
  • WebEx
  • Zoom

The motivations behind deceptive video calls 

Hackers, scammers, and other wannabe cybercriminals will deepfake video calls for a variety of reasons. You should always practice caution and protect your personal data when spending time online, however, deceptive video calls are a particularly insidious threat, as they’re rarely anticipated. 

Here are a few of the reasons people might choose to create deceptive video calls:

  • Access to personal information including bank accounts, online passwords, and social security numbers
  • Catfishing schemes
  • Crypto scams
  • Financial theft
  • Fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Phishing schemes 
  • Pranks on loved ones (for example, deep faking your video background to make it look like you’re on a phenomenal vacation)
Deepfakes are a concerning technology that can be used to create highly deceptive video and audio content.

How cameras can create deepfakes 

The technology behind deceptive video calls may seem intricate and sophisticated. However, with multiple cameras, an intent cybercriminal can deepfake your video call, and leave you none the wiser. How does this work?     

To create a deepfake video call using multiple cameras, someone would have to:

  • Choose a third-party camera or a smart device as a second camera with the same access and permissions as a webcam
  • Create a fake video using smartphone cameras or secondary virtual cameras that can play via a deepfake program
  • Download a deepfake program that allows for multiple webcams. ManyCams is the go-to website for many deepfake video callers.  
  • Select the fake video as the video input source
  • Run the fake video and utilize a personal computer’s audio or video source to add background noises and other audio to add authenticity

Deceptive video calls can also use “face-swapping” to superimpose the image of a celebrity or loved one over the face of the true caller.

Other methods used to create deepfakes

Although video calls are the latest deepfake scams to gain popularity, deepfakes are becoming increasingly used on a variety of platforms and extremely difficult to spot. Other methods used to create deepfakes include: 

  • AI-generated images: Using AI to generate images of celebrities and then using them for promotion became a large reason for the SAG-AFTRA strike
  • Bogus videos and images that promote disinformation have been spread as “legitimate news”  
  • Generative adversarial networks (GAN): GANS use two algorithms to blend images and create realistic looking alternative appearances that a video caller can superimpose over their own image
  • Shallow fakes: Heavily doctored and edited videos to make a public figure appear as if they’ve done or said something that they didn’t
Multiple cameras can be positioned at different angles, allowing the person to control what the other party sees.

How to protect yourself from deceptive video calls

The best ways to protect yourself from deceptive video calls is to ensure that your video call security is set to private, and to learn how to spot deepfake “tells.”  As AI improves on an exponentially rapid learning curve, it gets tougher to separate fakes from the real thing. However, several ways to spot deception in a video call include:

  • Pay attention to the other party’s eyes. Super-imposed or AI-generated images don’t blink
  • If something seems off, reach to involved parties via text message, Slack, or private message to ensure they are, in fact, on the call and their profile wasn’t   cloned by a bad actor
  • Look for inconsistencies in audio and video — lip-synching or glitches in video streaming may become apparent   
  • Generated images may also cause teeth or eyes to look odd. If someone’s speaking to you via a video call and their teeth or eyes do not look real, they probably aren’t
  • Ask others on a video call with you to turn and show their profiles. According to Fortune, an AI-generated image will appear to blur or fall apart in profile
  • Use extremely strong passwords for your video conferencing accounts (include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols) and set up a two-step authentication login when possible
  • Utilize “security words” for video calls with loved ones to ensure you’re actually speaking with your kids or parents, and not a middle-age stranger in Gary, Indiana. 

For example, when you begin a video call, you can each repeat a secret phrase selected before continuing on with the call. Besides, this is a fun way to get your mom to say, “The red hawk flies at dawn.”

How What Is My IP Address can help

In a digital world that makes our lives easier, cybercriminals hide in the shadows, ready to pounce. Anyone with a webcam and a downloaded multicam application can create a deceptive video call. Learn how to spot red flags on video chats. That way you can protect yourself from falling for scams involving multiple cameras that create deceptive video calls.

Visit the What Is My IP Address homepage for tools that can help you protect yourself online. And check out our blog for the latest insights, tips, and trends in cybersecurity.

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