The Department of National Defense in the Philippines has issued a memo stating that military personnel are now prohibited from using apps that require the uploading of personal photos to create a digital clone. Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. has warned that such apps could pose significant security risks.
The authenticity of the memo was confirmed by military officials on Friday, although no further details were provided regarding the specifics of the ban. The memo referred to an app that uses artificial intelligence to create a digital person that mimics the speech and movements of a real individual when provided with ten photos of the user.
Teodoro expressed concerns about the potential malicious use of such apps, highlighting the risks of identity theft, social engineering, phishing attacks, and other malicious activities. He emphasized that such seemingly harmless and amusing AI-powered applications could lead to the creation of fake profiles and urged caution when sharing personal information online.
The ban on these apps comes in the wake of a threat alert issued by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI regarding deepfake technology. This technology has the potential to be utilized to breach computer systems in the military and other sensitive targets. According to NSA mathematician Candice Rockwell Gerstner, while the tools and techniques for manipulating authentic multimedia are not new, the ease and scale with which cyber actors are using these techniques are concerning. She advised US companies to learn how to detect deepfakes and develop a plan in case they are targeted.
The advisory from the NSA and FBI highlighted that not only businesses but also American security agencies, the Pentagon, and defense contractors are at risk. It also raised concerns about the spread of false information through synthetic media, which can lead to public unrest surrounding political, social, military, or economic issues.
The ban on these AI apps for military personnel in the Philippines serves as a proactive measure to safeguard national security and protect against potential cyber threats. It underscores the importance of raising awareness about the risks associated with emerging technologies and the need for individuals and organizations to exercise caution when sharing personal information online.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial for governments, businesses, and individuals to stay vigilant and implement effective cybersecurity measures to counter potential threats. By staying informed and adopting proactive measures, countries can mitigate security risks and ensure the protection of critical information and infrastructure.