Communications firm creates deepfake detection and response team

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Comprehensive assistance on detecting, tracing, and responding to misleading “deepfake” media is available from a cross-discipline team at Marathon Strategies of New York and Washington, DC.

Deepfakes are fraudulently altered video and audio files that make it seem that targets are doing or saying things they never actually did. The goal? Political disinformation, corporate sabotage, or personal smears.

Experts say the technology is likely to be a factor in America’s 2020 elections. Technologists have demonstrated convincing video footage of presidential candidates and other political figures appearing to say things they never actually said. Analysts say convincing fake videos and audio files could change the results of state, local, and even national races.

The Marathon team includes not only technologists who can detect deepfakes and trace them to their likely sources, but also public relations and crisis-communications professionals who can help clients devise strategies for countering deepfake attacks. Marathon says its team represents the world’s first cross-disciplinary approach to helping individuals, corporations, political campaigns, and other organizations counter the deepfake threat.

“No technological solutions have yet been developed to detect and prevent fake video and audio clips from spreading across the online media landscape,” says Marathon CEO Phil Singer. “Until that changes, only trained experts can mitigate this threat. Our team has the experience and skills to detect, investigate, and address disinformation campaigns by malicious online actors.”

Marathon’s deepfake team draws upon the expertise of former members of US intelligence agencies, cybersecurity analysts, and imagery experts who can quickly identify deepfakes and trace them to likely sources. Meanwhile, crisis managers work with clients to mitigate immediate and long-term consequences.

“By combining expert imagery analysis with extensive media management, we are prepared to repair and preserve the image of individuals or organizations that find themselves under assault by a deepfake,” says Marathon managing director Ray Hernandez, who heads the deepfake response team. “The threat posed by deepfakes will continue to grow steadily as the technology behind them becomes more sophisticated.”