Why becoming Barbie could be a trap for you

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As technology continues to advance, taking us into new and uncharted realms, our human rhythm occasionally stumbles, especially in the fascinating world of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Why does the tempting shift towards becoming Barbie or an older version of ourselves hide a risky trap that highlights security concerns not only in the banking sector?

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Dangers of current technologies: Barbie selfie

The internet is a magical place where users can encounter limitless things. What is incredible, yet potentially dangerous, is its virality. With continuously enhanced technologies come more opportunities, but humans are very fragile in keeping pace with technologies and especially AI. The recently released and highly-anticipated Barbie movie triggered a whirlwind of excitement. When the joy from the movie passed, a new form of entertainment appeared: the Barbie selfie. Taking a selfie, uploading the image to the website and receiving a final picture of the person looking like Barbie or Ken became a hit. This trend resembles the aging filter on TikTok, allowing individuals to envision their future selves. The allure of such transformations might be tempting and hard to resist, but is it safe? Unfortunately, only a minority of users actively seek the data provider’s identity or the ultimate fate of the provided information, and thus risk falling into a trap.

Authorities warn against the risks

A general trait of free applications or websites is that to be profitable, the provider sells the data received from use of the software. That is why Slovak National Security Office, Polish Ministry of Digitization and other institutions warn against potential threat when using websites like Barbie.me or Barbieselfie.ai. According to the authorities, they do not meet the data protection requirements under the General Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council known as GDPR. In terms of TikTok, the National Cyber and Information Security Agency recommended deleting the trending application to prevent cybersecurity threat. The main issue according to the authorities is the fact that the creators of the apps do not specify how they handle the collected data.

Security first, but how to achieve it?

The equation is very simple. The user arguably gets a nice and funny picture in exchange for willingly providing sensitive information that could potentially be misused, particularly in the context of AI-driven applications. This increases the potential for identity theft in the form of deep fake frauds e.g. during onboarding processes at banks and other institutions.

The key to preventing this threat is to be careful about one’s personal information. Consider whether the provider of services we share your information with is reliable and avoid installing dubious applications on your devices.

Cybercrime: worldwide and in the Czech Republic

There is no doubt that cybercrime is an extremely costly threat. While the annual cost of worldwide cybercrime is predicted to hit USD 8 trillion, it is expected to rise to USD 10.5 trillion by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. In the Czech Republic, cybercrime including identity theft has also been growing in recent years. Cybersecurity incidents registered by the NÚKIB (National Cyber and Information Security Agency) in 2021 increased by 300% compared to 2018. So far this year, the ČBA (Czech Banking Association) reported over 30 thousand cyber-attacks against banking clients, i.e. a 15% increase YoY. The damage was estimated at hundreds of millions CZK. On average, it amounts to over CZK 20 thousand per client. These numbers are official. In other words, the real number of incidents that are not reported must be considerably higher. It is important to remember that possible misuse of sensitive information provided to various entities, such as the Barbie filter, can lead to further increase of cybercrime.

Trask is here to help with data security

At Trask, we believe that data security stands as a cornerstone, indispensable for nurturing robust and enduring technological advancement. We provide penetration testing and current onboarding process assessments to fight the misuse of sensitive data and avoid fraud. If you deal with cyber security, online onboarding or any other related topic in your company and need more information or solutions to your concerns, do not hesitate to contact our consultants.


Martin Bares
Security, Senior Manager

Jozef Michalovcik
Business Consultant

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