Voice Synthesis: The Growing Threat of Vishing with AI Technology

A few months ago, a song called “Heart on My Sleeve” went viral on social media: a collaboration between artists Drake and The Weeknd. It was quickly met with excitement from hip-hop fans, not only because of the song’s impressive vocal performances or the catchy lyrics from both artists, but because it was entirely AI-generated.

A Dangerous Trend:

Impersonating an artist or famous person’s voice is as easy as going online, finding one of the several AI models trained in replicating voices, and telling it what you want it to say. These models work with large training sets of vocal data in order to replicate speech, down to the different inflections and emphasis one puts on syllables. Modern vocal synthesis is pretty convincing too; “Heart on My Sleeve” got most of its hype from social media users being tricked into thinking they were actually listening to a leaked song, not an AI-generated one. AI voice cloning has become extremely trendy, fun, and easy to do, but not many realize the unseen implications this powerful software now has on the security of our identities.

Why Voice Synthesis Poses a Risk

Phishing, and more specifically vishing (phishing through voice communication), has always been an issue, but now that impersonation technology runs rampant, vishers seemed to have made a major breakthrough. Utilizing cheap, easily-accessible AI software and an audio clip of just a few sentences, an attacker can easily synthesize a person’s speech, and make them say anything they want. Vishers are beginning to use this technology to conduct more powerful vishing scams on a large scale basis, in which they’ll call vulnerable targets, just like a typical vishing attempt– except this time they’ll be using the voice of a loved one. This recognizable voice, combined with a sense of urgency, utilizes familiarity to trick victims into divulging sensitive information or large amounts of money.

Preventing Attacks That Use Voice Synthesis

In order to protect yourself and those around you from the dangers of impersonation technology and AI-driven vishing attacks, there are several preventative measures you can take. First of all, it’s always important to remain skeptical of unprompted phone calls, especially those requesting you share sensitive information or send them money, even if they do appear to be someone you trust. Verifying the identity of the caller is as easy as hanging up and calling your contact back or in the case of it being a business call, calling the company line and asking to speak with your contact.


As technology, specifically artificial intelligence, continues to advance, scammers will continue to develop creative ways to attempt to defraud and impersonate their victims. By taking steps to protect both yourself and those around you, we can all stay secure against the new wave of digital attackers. Staying vigilant and informed about new styles of cyber-attacks is the best way to stay both updated and safe in this rapidly-advancing age.

How Can Netizen Help?

Netizen ensures that security gets built-in and not bolted-on. Providing advanced solutions to protect critical IT infrastructure such as the popular “CISO-as-a-Service” wherein companies can leverage the expertise of executive-level cybersecurity professionals without having to bear the cost of employing them full time. 

We also offer compliance support, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and more security-related services for businesses of any size and type. 

Additionally, Netizen offers an automated and affordable assessment tool that continuously scans systems, websites, applications, and networks to uncover issues. Vulnerability data is then securely analyzed and presented through an easy-to-interpret dashboard to yield actionable risk and compliance information for audiences ranging from IT professionals to executive managers.

Netizen is an ISO 27001:2013 (Information Security Management), ISO 9001:2015, and CMMI V 2.0 Level 3 certified company. We are a proud Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor for hiring and retention of military veterans. 

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