The Tom Cruise deepfake that set off 'terror' in the heart of Washington DC

It only became clear what Chris Ume had unleashed in the days after his TikTok Tom Cruise videos went viral in February this year. Then fear started to set in. 

Suddenly it felt like the whole world was watching. In a few days, one of the videos, seemingly showing the Hollywood superstar teeing off at the golf course, already had 2.5 million views. 

Then it kept climbing to 10 million and beyond. TikTok Tom was becoming a global phenomenon.

"In the beginning it was really scary ... we never expected it," the Belgian-born graphics artist tells Foreign Correspondent from his current home in Bangkok.

"We started talking about it like, what should we do?" 

Ume's collaborator fired off an email to Cruise's management, asking if they should take the videos down and offering to hand over the @deeptomcruise TikTok account.

Chris Ume.

It wasn't that the videos were offensive, or scandalous, or even damaging to Tom Cruise. The actor's management never even wrote back. It's that they were good. Scary good.

On the other side of the world, in Washington DC, TikTok Tom was soon setting off alarm bells in national security and intelligence circles. One insider described the response as nothing short of "terror".

A series of clips depicting one of the most recognised faces in the world, created by one guy at home with a computer, had fooled virtually every piece of publicly available deepfake-detection technology.

Deepfakes are Artificial Intelligence-generated videos which can make people appear to do and say things they never did.

Ever since the first low-quality deepfakes emerged five years ago, the technology has been viewed as an emerging threat to national security, liberal democracy and even truth itself.

In 2021, that threat has come much more sharply into focus, as examples such as the Tom Cruise video show the technology is now ready to produce lifelike fakes.

Few would have predicted that the harbingers of a future some speak of in apocalyptic terms would be a graphics wiz from Belgium and a Tom Cruise impersonator.

The making of Tom Cruise

It could almost be Tom Cruise. There's the same action-hero gait, the familiar gestures and the megawatt smile. There's even an unmistakable note of the Cruise rasp in his voice. 

But the man in the video is not Tom Cruise, it's Miles Fisher, an actor who created a spoof campaign clip called "Run Tom Run" in the lead-up to the 2020 US presidential election.

"It was a funny video where Tom Cruise was running for president," Ume says. "But it was just [Fisher], it was no deepfake."

When Fisher started planning the sequel, he turned to Ume for help. Fisher wanted Tom's "concession" speech to use deepfake technology for the big reveal, where Tom Cruise would seem to emerge dripping wet from a swimming pool, laughing manically and draped in an American flag.

The resulting video, uploaded to social media, got the reaction the pair were after.

"People were amazed, like, 'How did he do this?'" Ume recalls. 

Their partnership would soon go on to produce some of the most convincing deepfakes ever made.

Ume first got interested in deepfakes in late 2018 when he saw a news report about how the technology was being used for malicious ends. Where others were exploring the darker side of deepfakes, Ume saw the creative potential. 

"I did a few months of research, how to do it, and a half-year later I had my first deepfake," he says. "Then it evolved rather quickly. I just started creating crazy things."

Those "crazy things" soon included a long-haired, preening Snoop Dogg. Ume is now working full time on deepfakes.

It's estimated 93 per cent of deepfakes currently produced are pornography, but the technology is rapidly emerging from the dark corners of the web into the mainstream.

Graphics and AI experts like Ume are expanding the possibilities of deepfakes into the entertainment and commercial realms.

A deepfaked David Beckham has fronted a malaria eradication campaign, delivering the message in nine languages. 

Apps and online tools have emerged offering users everything from a personalised video message from football legend Lionel Messi, to "deep nostalgia", where photos of dead loved ones can be uploaded to recreate their likeness in a moving video.

The number of professionally made deepfakes is now doubling every six months. Some experts are predicting up to 90 per cent of online videos could be synthetically generated — deepfakes — by 2030.

"If you compare the quality we could achieve for deepfakes a year ago and what we can achieve now, it's day-and-night difference," Ume says. "It's unbelievable."

Hollywood is also taking notice.

Last year, after leaving Belgium, Ume got a break working alongside other handpicked deepfake wizards on a new TV series by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. 

Called Sassy Justice, the show is a spoof local news report anchored by Fred Sassy, a deepfake who looks like Donald Trump behind a cravat and a wig of wiry grey curls.

Some of Ume's early work gained notoriety, like a deepfake of Kit Harrington, the actor who plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, apologising for the show's final season, and a digital restoration of a performance by renowned Belgian singer Jacques Brel. 

Both used Ume's' visual effects wizardry to manipulate pre-existing footage. But the near-flawless deepfake Tom Cruise videos were made from scratch, the product of an art-meets-science approach.

Fisher, who Ume rates as one of the "world's best" Tom Cruise impersonators, acted out scenes for the camera, channelling the Top Gun star's voice and mannerisms. It was then up to Ume to develop the AI model to replace his face with Tom Cruise's.

"Miles looks a lot like Tom Cruise, he has a lot of similarities," says Ume. "That makes my work easier in a way. It saves me a lot of time."

The key to building a deepfake is what's called a "generative adversarial network". It requires two neural networks — computer algorithms that mimic the way our brains work — which learn from each other and adapt. The two neural networks are then pitted against each other to build a perfect deepfake.

"For a deepfake, you start with the source data — I mean pictures and videos of the character you want to deepfake. In my case, Tom Cruise."

Ume collected over 6,000 images of the Hollywood actor taken from different angles, with different facial expressions, to train the algorithm. It still took over two months to build the computer model, then dozens more hours ironing out the glitches frame by frame using digital graphics software.

Then Ume and Fisher released their creations into the wilds of the internet. The reaction was completely unexpected, as online viewers debated whether the real Tom Cruise had in fact joined TikTok.

"Because we never exposed ourselves in the beginning, people didn't know who created these videos," Ume says. "You had a lot of articles talking about the end of the world … and, 'This technology is getting out of hand.'"

To quell some of the hysteria, Ume went on a media blitz, revealing how he made the videos and reassuring the world his intentions were only to entertain. 

Since then, Ume has been talking to governments too, advising them on the rapid evolution of deepfake capability.

"A lot of governments still don't know what deepfakes are and I'm here to explain what it is, which things are possible," he says.

"And governments realise this could be used as a weapon."

Weaponising deepfakes

It's a possibility that keeps former CIA officer and disinformation specialist Matt Ferraro up at night.

When deepfake Tom started doing the rounds in Washington DC's national security and intelligence community, some feared a dystopian future had taken one giant leap closer. Matt was one of them.

"I think that 'terror' is probably not too strong a word," says Ferraro, who worked for America's top spymaster, the director of National Intelligence, during the Bush and Obama administrations. 

"It's because they realise how dangerous [deepfakes] are. It does seem like it's really going to be a fundamental challenge to the information environment."

When Ferraro started writing about deepfakes two years ago, most were easily detected by the naked eye. But that has changed dramatically in the past 18 months, he says. Today's deepfakes have become "radically good" and now pose an imminent risk to the political system.

Early deepfakes, such as filmmaker and actor Jordan Peele's 2018 Obama video — in which a synthesised likeness of the former president calls his successor a "total and complete dipshit" and then signs off with the straight-faced salutation "stay woke, bitches" — highlighted the potential for deepfakes to sow political chaos. But the visual sophistication was lacking, Ferraro says.

"It was mostly old video of Barack Obama with only his lips moving. You could tell that was fake. Now with the Tom Cruise deepfakes, it's getting harder and harder".

The spectre of a deepfaked political leader has already arisen in Africa, where a video of Gabon's reclusive president looking odd triggered widespread allegations it was a deepfake. A week later the military attempted a coup.

In the lead-up to the 2020 US presidential election, deepfake parody TV commercials of Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin were commissioned by non-profit organisation RepresentUs to warn about the fragility of democracy. But RepresentUs says American TV networks refused to run the videos as they were too realistic.

For Ferraro, the nightmare scenario would be a deepfake video of US President Joe Biden declaring war on North Korea, potentially released at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, with hackers posting the video on the White House Twitter account. Ferraro suggests such a video could create mass confusion in a matter of minutes, potentially triggering conflict and even casualties before it could be debunked.

"If the North Koreans are 80 per cent sure it's him — maybe only 20 per cent sure it's him — are they willing to just sit back and take a missile strike that will end their regime? Probably not."

If one person with a computer and an internet connection can make a convincing Tom Cruise, Ferraro fears the risks the technology could pose in the hands of well-resourced actors.

"Chris Ume said it took him a couple of months to train the algorithms and then he estimates about 24 hours to create a minute of video," he says. "But imagine if you're the intelligence services of China's People's Liberation Army, known as the 2PLA. They could put 10,000 man hours against the creation of a deepfake tomorrow."

Just as troubling are the implications of increasingly realistic deepfakes for the health of liberal democracy, and even our ability to know what is true.

Nina Schick.

Nina Schick, an author and governmental policy adviser who focuses on how digital technologies are reshaping geopolitics and society, says individuals' ability to create sophisticated deepfakes has "really shaken the political establishment".

The mere existence of convincing deepfakes is already "undermining trust in all authentic media", she says, and fuelling a conundrum called the "liar's dividend", where even real videos can be written off as deepfakes by those who deem them inconvenient.

"If everything can be faked, including video, then everything can be denied," says Schick.

A cat and mouse game

The potential for deepfake disruption is a problem the US government is taking seriously. 

Earlier this year, the FBI put private companies on notice to expect attacks from "synthetic media", meaning deepfakes, within the next 12 to 18 months, a warning Ferraro labelled "extraordinary". 

The US government, along with internet giants such as Facebook, are also investing in deepfake-detection systems. Almost every month now, a tech company claims to have made a breakthrough in beating deepfakes.

But many experts fear detection is a lost cause.

Facebook recently invited specialists to participate in a challenge to pit their detection systems against a series of fake videos. The winner from around 2,000 entrants was only able to detect a deepfake 65 per cent of the time, far short of the mark experts say is necessary.

"These deepfake detection tools, it's like a cat and mouse game," Ume says. "They can't follow. The deep Tom videos, they are pretty good. I'm not saying they're flawless, because I see a lot of mistakes myself. And they cannot detect it."

A deepfake.

Without effective detection tools, some are now proposing to shift the focus to a system of digital "provenance", where legitimate videos are authenticated with a digital tamper-proof watermark guaranteeing their origin. 

Proponents of this system reason that if we can't prove what's fake, we should try to prove what's real by authenticating legitimate media as it's created.

Tech and media giants including Adobe, Microsoft, Intel, Twitter, the New York Times and the BBC are already collaborating on the world's first standards body on digital content provenance.

There are also moves in the US to regulate deepfakes with legislation, outlawing egregious uses of the technology in pornography and politics. 

"I think that we've only really started to scratch the surface of the bad things that can happen because of deepfakes," Ferraro says.

Ume supports some form of regulation but remains a firm believer in the creative possibilities of deepfake technology.

"People are always scared of things they don't understand or they don't really know," he says. "I think it's a good thing I created these videos because now I'm raising awareness and they realise, 'This is real. It's coming.'"

Watch Foreign Correspondent's American Deepfake now on YouTube and iview .

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Miles Fisher was photographed July 12 in London. Three of the images of Tom Cruise on these pages are not actually of Tom Cruise but stills from Fisher’s DeepTom TikTok videos. See if you can spot them.

How I Became the Fake Tom Cruise

Miles Fisher had it all: talent, charm and the face of a movie star. Problem was, it was a very specific movie star. After years of resenting the resemblance, Fisher embraced it through viral TikTok deepfakes that demonstrate AI’s astonishing power to deceive.

By Miles Fisher

Miles Fisher

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I wasn’t exceptional in college by any means. I studied English literature because I knew that charm and charisma could influence my overall grade in a way they couldn’t in math and sciences. I sang a cappella in a group whose repertoire was stuck in the 1940s and was a bottom-rung substitute on the squash team.

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I wrote and prepped and rehearsed endlessly for the big day. Seemingly everyone in the world who mattered to me would be in attendance. And just as I was summoned to come up and take my place among the three centuries of Harvard commencement orators before me, I heard a different name than mine being introduced. “He wears many hats on campus, but you probably know him best as the Tom Cruise guy, please welcome to the podium …”

Wait, hold up — what? Was I chosen for laughs? This was supposed to be my big moment. They couldn’t have phrased it, “with movie-star good looks,” or even, “with a resemblance to Mr. Mission Impossible ,” but straight up “the Tom Cruise guy” as though I intentionally tried to work that angle? Are they expecting me to slide up to the podium in tighty-whities and Ray-Bans? Am I just … a joke?

I blanked. The entire speech vanished from my memory and in an instant I felt my identity flipped inside out for all the world to see. There I stood behind the podium, feeling laughed at, not with. Pure panic.

That was the day I graduated from college and entered the real world. And by the real world, I mean Los Angeles.

“Has anyone ever said you look just like a young Tom Cruise?”

Still, when enough strangers tell you that you look and sound like a movie star, you begin to think maybe you should try your hand at becoming a movie star. At least I did. As my luck would have it, however, I moved to L.A. right around the time movie stars began their decline. This was back in 2006, when an upstart service called YouTube was acquired by Google. The iPhone did not yet exist. Facebook, which had been created my freshman year by a classmate of mine named Zuckerberg, was still just the domain of fancy college kids.

The strategy worked, to a degree. I started making videos on YouTube, they started racking up views, and slowly but surely I started getting cast in movies and TV shows. I had small roles on shows like Mad Men , Psych, 2 Broke Girls. I led an ensemble in Final Destination V (in 3D!) and played the heartthrob in a Christmas-themed Lifetime movie. I was the lead in six pilots that never saw the light of day. Yet no matter how many credits I racked up, it was my original viral videos that people responded to.

My YouTube videos were usually spoofs that doubled as music videos. I spoofed American Psycho and Saved By the Bell . I spoofed Hollywood agencies and, of course, Tom Cruise . I loved seeing that view count cross the million mark. I felt it was proof of concept that there was an audience who enjoyed watching me. But was it really me they were watching?

The Tom Cruise resemblance was becoming a real hindrance professionally. It seemed that no matter how well I spoofed others, I was simply too good at spoofing him. Once you saw me do that, you couldn’t unsee him, and there was little I could do to shake it off. Believe me, I tried.

At first I tried to change my voice, testing out weeks with a low-register Southern twang or a clipped New England variation. I changed up my style of dress, doing all I could to look more like a striving artist than a guy who once worked at a haberdashery in Cambridge called The Andover Shop. Such efforts were condemned by casting directors and agents alike as “forced” and “inauthentic.” Instead, they suggested I try some new haircuts (how genuine!).

Nevertheless, I enjoyed a decent run acting opposite some extraordinary people. I got to work with Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie. I improvised with Vince Vaughn, Laurence Fishburne and Keegan-Michael Key. I played serious with Elisabeth Moss, Courtney Vance and Owen Wilson. You know what they all had in common? Every one of them thought it was crazy how much I looked like Tom Cruise.

I had pursued acting to prove that I wasn’t just the Tom Cruise guy. I failed.

What if, instead of trying to hide my resemblance, I masked myself so perfectly that no one could even tell the difference? What if I just straight up owned it?

I’ll never forget the moment I first saw one of my videos deepfaked with my face replaced by Cruise’s. The lighting wasn’t uniform and there was a minor glitch behind the eyes, but the effect was still astonishing.

The video was made by a Belgian VFX artist named Chris Umé, who was living in Thailand. He pioneered a technology that used artificial intelligence “deep learning” to transpose Tom’s face onto mine in seemingly real time. I was able to get in touch with Chris, a shy and technologically brilliant wunderkind, to ask him just what the hell I was looking at. The science fascinated me, and over several conversations we developed a pen pal relationship via the internet.

One day, he casually mentioned that if I ever wanted another Tom Cruise deepfake (or hyperreal immersive footage, as Chris calls it), it would be easy to create. Apparently, the massive data set had not only been established and mapped to my face but was getting smarter and more realistic by the day. If I ever wanted to “play around,” I could just send him a clip and he could turn it around rather quickly. Um … sure, OK.

@deeptomcruise Sports! ♬ original sound – Tom

I couldn’t make sense of what I was watching but figured maybe the algorithms could. I had never used TikTok before, but all the “youngs” seemed to be obsessed, so in 2021 I downloaded the app, created a parodic account called @DeepTomCruise and uploaded the video. That’s when things started to get really bananas.

I had never made a number get that big that fast. From zero to 4 million views in less than two days. Tens of thousands of comments, virtually all of them convinced this was actually Tom Cruise just sharing his life on the internet. People weren’t comparing me to him; they insisted I was him.

When doing an impersonation of anyone, I’ll always try to distill someone’s essence down to two succinct words that help inform their mannerisms and drive. With Tom, I had locked in on “intense pleading.” He’s a guy who will do whatever it takes to get you to trust him. No one brims over with confidence like he does, but behind those eyes I’ve always sensed a desperation to get your vote. Or in TikTok’s case, your upvote.

The notion of Tom Cruise on TikTok is inherently absurd. This is a man for whom even TV is too small. He is the last Hollywood icon standing. Famous for never being truly accessible, he has masterly maintained that void into which the audience projects its desire. The idea of seeing him doing everyday, mundane things struck me as such a fun content space. Stars, they’re just like us, right?

I began making a series of videos according to a few simple rules. No cheap shots at Tom — nothing personal about him, his family or his religion. Not only is that none of my business, but I knew it would be a creative trap. Rather, every sketch was rooted in the simple joy of everyday experiences. Like discovering someone put gum inside a lollipop!

@deeptomcruise And bubblegum?! ♬ original sound – Tom

The sketches were limitless. My bruised ego, having endured 20 years of reductive comparisons, harbored an endless reservoir of ideas: Yeah, sure he’s A-list, but can Tom Cruise flush a golf ball or play guitar or speak Spanish or Japanese or perform magic?

Tom Cruise turned 60 this July and shows no signs of slowing down. I’ve never met the legend. At this point, nothing would make me happier. The creative joy behind DeepTom has proved contagious, resonating with the next generation of teenagers who loiter at the global algorithm malls. Between TikTok and Instagram Reels, my character has been viewed nearly a billion times.

Of course, I can’t take any credit for the overwhelming success of Top Gun: Maverick, but I’d like to think that I’ve contributed favorably to the contemporary awareness and likability of Mr. Cruise, especially among the 30-and-under set. After all, I’ve garnered him positive virality that money can’t buy. And I won’t profit one cent from any of this unless Mr. Cruise reaches out with his official approval to use his likeness. Until then, it’s only good-natured parody.

For my part, it’s been a creative boon. It took me a very long time to no longer feel laughed at but laughed with. I still get stopped by strangers on the street, but these days people tend to ask me if I’m the DeepTomCruise guy. With the relief of finally waking up to the day after Groundhog Day, I’m happy to finally own up to it. Yep, that’s me. I’m Miles, what’s your name?

This story first appeared in the July 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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Deepfake videos of Tom Cruise went viral. Their creator hopes they boost awareness.

The creator of a series of deepfake Tom Cruise videos that garnered more than 11 million views on TikTok said he never wanted to trick people.

But since he has, he's hoping the sudden influx of attention can help bring greater awareness to the continued evolution of the technology that can create incredibly realistic fake videos of people.

“The important thing is, we didn’t want to fool people at any moment,” Chris Ume, 31, the Belgian visual effects artist behind the viral deepfakes, said in an interview. “If I can help in creating awareness, or even work on detection in the future, I would love to.”

Ume created the four videos, in which it appeared to show the Hollywood star playing golf, doing a magic coin trick, and falling over while telling a story about the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Three of them went viral, attracting attention on TikTok and across the internet.

And though most people realized quickly that the videos were fake, even experts were impressed by their quality.

Chris Ume used a combination of visual effects and editing software to make Miles Fisher look almost identical to Tom Cruise.

“My first thought was they’re incredibly well done,” said digital image forensics expert Hany Farid, who is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and specializes in image analysis and misinformation. “They’re funny, they’re clever.”

But they also offer a warning: Deepfake technology that has emerged in recent years continues to evolve and improve. And while deepfake videos have not yet been effectively used in many misinformation campaigns, the danger is growing.

“In the early days, you could see the potential, but it wasn’t even close to being there,” Farid said. “But this felt to me like it was a real step, like we just took a big step forward in the development of this technology.”

Cruise did not respond to a request for comment. Meanwhile his impersonator, Miles Fisher, replied to an NBC News email but said he did not wish to comment further.

Synthetic digital content, otherwise known as a deepfake, can include anything from an image or video in which one person or object is visually or audibly manipulated to say and do something that is fabricated. In the case of the @deeptomcruise TikTok account, Ume used a combination of visual effects and editing software to make Fisher look almost identical to the "Mission Impossible" actor. 

Other manipulated videos have gained traction in recent years. A video produced by BuzzFeed warning the public about deepfake technology featured the actor Jordan Peele's realistic-looking impersonation of former President Barack Obama in 2018 that gained more than 8 million views on YouTube, and more recently other videos have emerged involving the former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg .

While analyzing the @deeptomcruise TikTok videos, Farid said he found it difficult to detect common discrepancies that have previously been spotted in other deepfakes — such as glitches around the face, particularly when it has been partially obscured by a moving hand.

He said he was able to identify inconsistencies particularly around the eyes, although “they were very minor.”

“This one was very polished," Farid added. "It was long and in high resolution."            

Although Ume used sophisticated visual effects editing, advancements in digital editing through smartphone apps such as Reface, Facetune and even Snapchat have made techniques like face-swapping and image altering more accessible and could cause the possible weaponization of deepfakes, experts say.

However Matt Groh, a research assistant with the Affective Computing group at the MIT Media Lab, said there were “still a lot of constraints on what this can do.”

“Our imagination can quickly run wild, and just assume it's really good on all fronts — and maybe someday it can be,” he said. “When you have a bunch of different videos, rather than a single video, you start to see where some of these imperfections lie.”

To allay the fears of experts like Farid, Ume said he would like to see regulations brought in to allow responsible use of deepfake technology, and for social media networks to create labels for such content.

Detection software isn’t good enough right now, he said. 

“That’s obvious because these three videos weren’t detected by the models," he said.

Since his videos went viral on TikTok, Ume has released a visual effects breakdown of how he created them, in an attempt to help educate people on how they’re made and how difficult they can be to produce.

“It’s not something you can do at home,” said Ume, who is part of a team of deepfake artists at Deep Voodoo — a visual effects studio assembled by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the show “South Park.”

The TikTok videos were so convincing, Ume said, because of his expertise, as well as the ability to work with someone like Fisher who could impersonate Cruise so well.

TikTok updated its policy, after releasing a statement in August 2020 , that prohibits synthetic or manipulated content which "misleads users by distorting the truth of events and cause harm to the subject of the video, other persons, or society."

However, TikTok did not take any action against @deeptomcruise or the videos it posted because it did not go against its community guidelines. The social media platform declined to comment.

While the deepfake Cruise videos are entertaining and were “never really meant to be deceptive,” Farid said, there are “legitimate concerns” about how this could inspire others to create similar fabricated content.

“Think about the implications for national security,” Farid said. “Think about the implications if I create a video of Jeff Bezos saying that Amazon stock profits are down 20 percent — how much can I move the markets? How many billions of dollars before anybody figures out that it's fake?”

tom cruise reaction to deep fake

Bianca Britton is a reporter for NBC News' Social Newsgathering team based in London.

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Man behind viral Tom Cruise deepfake videos calls the technology ‘morally neutral’

The man behind the viral Tom Cruise deepfake videos on TikTok believes the positive outweighs the negative when it comes to the technology that allows him to so convincingly impersonate the Hollywood superstar.

Miles Fisher, the Cruise lookalike who has fooled millions with his TikTok videos , spoke about the possibilities and downsides of the deepfake technology in an exclusive interview with NBC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff.

"As I find myself the unofficial face of this deep fake movement, it’s important to learn and I’m fascinated by this," Fisher told Soboroff on TODAY Tuesday. "This is the bleeding edge of technology."

In a series of digitally manipulated videos, images and audio released earlier this year, it appeared like Cruise himself was showing off magic tricks, working on his golf swing and playing guitar. Except that wasn't the "Mission: Impossible" star at all. It was Fisher.

"I think we’ve created the first deepfake that’s so realistic, that a large majority of people have seen," he said.

Fisher, who bears a strong resemblance to Cruise in real life, said the similarities to the star often hampered him as he tried to make his own way as an actor.

Last year he decided to lean into the connection to Cruise, contacting Belgian visual effects specialist Chris Umé to create the viral Cruise videos for fun. The technology has also improved to the point that what once would've taken Umé weeks to make can now be created much quicker.

"About five days, maximum six days, I could turn around something like this," Umé told Soboroff on TODAY.

Cruise, who did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News, has not asked the duo to stop. Fisher and Umé also have not monetized the TikTok account @deeptomcruise, which has more than 3 million followers.

However, Fisher and Umé are now working together in a company started by Umé called Metaphysic that uses deepfake tech.

"How can we use this technology by creating kind of identity rights?" Fisher said. "Let’s say Tom Cruise gave us the consent for this likeness, where we could move beyond just small parody clips. Everybody gets paid for that intellectual property."

Deepfakes in recent years have also created impersonations of Jennifer Lawrence, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Zuckerberg and former President George W. Bush that drew notice.

The potential threat of the technology has been debated in Congress, which raised the specter of its use for political propaganda, fake revenge porn and other nefarious purposes.

“Deepfakes can cause real, concrete harm. Whether that’s a deepfake sex video, or a fake porn video targeting political enemies, or a well-timed deepfake, maybe used to cause harm to an IPO,” University of Maryland law professor Danielle Citron told NBC News ahead of congressional hearings about it in 2019. “And in unrest, if you time it just right, you can incite violence.”

The FBI told NBC News in a statement that it is tracking the technology closely and "will continue to investigate any violations of federal law and actors that may use them for nefarious acts."

Some companies are working on safeguards that will allow people to identify a deepfake like adding data to video and pictures so it will be clear when something has been digitally altered.

Fisher and Umé say they will only take on projects with positive applications.

"The thesis of this company that Chris started begins with ethics," Fisher said.  

"I think the technology is morally neutral," he continued. "As it develops, the positive output will so far outweigh the negative, nefarious uses."

Scott Stump is a trending reporter and the writer of the daily newsletter This is TODAY (which you should subscribe to here! ) that brings the day's news, health tips, parenting stories, recipes and a daily delight right to your inbox. He has been a regular contributor for since 2011, producing features and news for pop culture, parents, politics, health, style, food and pretty much everything else. 

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The real Tom Cruise, on the set of Mission Impossible 7 in Rome

'I don't want to upset people': Tom Cruise deepfake creator speaks out

Visual effects artist Christopher Ume reveals he made TikTok fakes with help from Cruise impersonator

Joining TikTok has become something of a trend for Hollywood celebrities stuck at home like everyone else. So it wasn’t necessarily surprising to see Tom Cruise on the app, sharing videos of himself playing golf and pratfalling around the house.

But the strange thing is that Cruise never actually made the videos. And the account that posted them, DeepTomCruise, wore that on its sleeve: it was openly the work of a talented creator of “ deepfakes ”, AI-generated video clips that use a variety of techniques to create situations that have never happened in the real world.

Despite being open about its falseness, the account’s videos are so realistic that they still prompted wild speculation. Commercial tools for recognising deepfakes cleared the clips as “authentic”, and while eagle-eyed viewers claimed to spot artefacts, such as an out-of-sync reflection, others pondered whether the fake was itself fake: maybe Tom Cruise really had joined TikTok , in a meta hoax?

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Now, the creator of the account has come forward to talk about his work. Or creators, rather, because DeepTomCruise is the product of a collaboration between the Belgian visual effects artist Christopher Ume and the Tom Cruise impersonator Miles Fisher.

The two had worked together once before, when Ume had put Cruise’s face on Fisher for a web series the latter was making imagining the actor’s campaign for the 2020 presidency . But the mysterious TikTok account wasn’t the result of a deep plan, Ume says. “A month later, he contacted me again, and said: ‘Let’s make a funny video … I’ll film myself in my garden and then you just make me look like Tom Cruise.’ And so we did that and he posted it – but he also created a TikTok account. He doesn’t know anything about the app, I don’t either, but then then two days later, he sends me a screenshot: ‘Dude. Two and a half million views.’”

Ume is no stranger to viral success. Despite only hearing about the concept of a deepfake in late 2018, he quickly decided to try his hand at creating them, and soon became one of the most adept users of the technology. In 2020, South Park Studios hired him to combine deepfake tech with the work of a team of crack comic writers, and last October, his first professional creation was uploaded: Sassy Justice, a Peter Serafinowicz-starring sketch in which the lead character interviews a host of global icons, all played by Serafinowicz.

But the DeepTomCruise account is a step further still. And Ume cautions it will not be the last time a nearly flawless deepfake appears unannounced. “I’d like to show people the technical possibilities of these things. I don’t intend to use it in any way where I would upset people – I just want to show them what’s possible in a few years.” What now takes an inventive impersonator, a beefy computer, and a skilled practitioner days of work could be done by a simple Snapchat filter by 2025, he suggests. “I just strongly think that there should be laws to help with the responsible use of AI and deepfakes ,” Ume says.

For Ume, though, there is one other major hope he has for this whole affair: a single shot at the job of a lifetime. “When I started doing video and working on my projects, just in general, I always had a dream. I would like to work for Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings. I’m saying this in every interview: hey, Peter, if you’re reading this, contact me.”

Whether or not the New Zealand director takes Ume up on his offer, at least one person in Hollywood appears to have learned something from his and Fisher’s stunt: while Tom Cruise has refused to comment on the videos, the actor now has a verified account on TikTok – although with zero videos posted, and just 20,000 fans, he is apparently less popular than his deepfake counterpart.

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Tom Cruise deepfake creator says public shouldn’t be worried about ‘one-click fakes’

Weeks of work and a top impersonator were needed to make the viral clips.

By James Vincent , a senior reporter who has covered AI, robotics, and more for eight years at The Verge.

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Want to see a magic trick? Tom Cruise impersonator Miles Fisher (left) and the deepfake Tom Cruise created by Chris Ume (right).

When a series of spookily convincing Tom Cruise deepfakes went viral on TikTok , some suggested it was a chilling sign of things to come — harbinger of an era where AI will let anyone make fake videos of anyone else. The video’s creator, though, Belgium VFX specialist Chris Ume , says this is far from the case. Speaking to The Verge about his viral clips, Ume stresses the amount of time and effort that went into making each deepfake, as well as the importance of working with a top-flight Tom Cruise impersonator, Miles Fisher.

“You can’t do it by just pressing a button,” says Ume. “That’s important, that’s a message I want to tell people.” Each clip took weeks of work, he says, using the open-source DeepFaceLab algorithm as well as established video editing tools. “By combining traditional CGI and VFX with deepfakes, it makes it better. I make sure you don’t see any of the glitches.”

Ume has been working with deepfakes for years, including creating the effects for the “Sassy Justice” series made by South Park ’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone . He started working on Cruise when he saw a video by Fisher announcing a fictitious run for president by the Hollywood star. The pair then worked together on a follow-up and decided to put a series of “harmless” clips up on TikTok. Their account, @deeptomcruise , quickly racked up tens of thousands of followers and likes. Ume pulled the videos briefly but then restored them.

“It’s fulfilled its purpose,” he says of the account. “We had fun. I created awareness. I showed my skills. We made people smile. And that’s it, the project is done.” A spokesperson from TikTok told The Verge that the account was well within its rules for parody uses of deepfakes, and Ume notes that Cruise — the real Tom Cruise — has since made his own official account, perhaps as a result of seeing his AI doppelgänger go viral.

Deepfake technology has been developing for years now, and there’s no doubt that the results are getting more realistic and easier to make. Although there has been much speculation about the potential harm such technology could cause in politics, so far these effects have been relatively nonexistent . Where the technology is definitely causing damage is in the creation of revenge porn or nonconsensual pornography of women. In those cases, the fake videos or images don’t have to be realistic to create tremendous damage. Simply threatening someone with the release of fake imagery, or creating rumors about the existence of such content, can be enough to ruin reputations and careers.

The Tom Cruise fakes, though, show a much more beneficial use of the technology: as another part of the CGI toolkit. Ume says there are so many uses for deepfakes, from dubbing actors in film and TV, to restoring old footage, to animating CGI characters. What he stresses, though, is the incompleteness of the technology operating by itself.

Before and after: you can see how impersonator Fisher (left) compares to the deepfake Cruise (right).

Creating the fakes took two months to train the base AI models (using a pair of NVIDIA RTX 8000 GPUs) on footage of Cruise, and days of further processing for each clip. After that, Ume had to go through each video, frame by frame, making small adjustments to sell the overall effect; smoothing a line here and covering up a glitch there. “The most difficult thing is making it look alive,” he says. “You can see it in the eyes when it’s not right.”

Ume says a huge amount of credit goes to Fisher; a TV and film actor who captured the exaggerated mannerisms of Cruise, from his manic laugh to his intense delivery. “He’s a really talented actor,” says Ume. “I just do the visual stuff.” Even then, if you look closely, you can still see moments where the illusion fails, as in the clip below where Fisher’s eyes and mouth glitch for a second as he puts the sunglasses on.

Although Ume’s point is that his deepfakes take a lot of work and a professional impersonator, it’s also clear that the technology will improve over time. Exactly how easy it will be to make seamless fakes in the future is difficult to predict, and experts are busy developing tools that can automatically identify fakes or verify unedited footage .

Ume, though, says he isn’t too worried about the future. We’ve developed such technology before and society’s conception of truth has more or less survived. “It’s like Photoshop 20 years ago, people didn’t know what photo editing was, and now they know about these fakes,” he says. As deepfakes become more and more of a staple in TV and movies, people’s expectations will change, as they did for imagery in the age of Photoshop. One thing’s for certain, says Ume, and it’s that the genie can’t be put back in the bottle. “Deepfakes are here to stay,” he says. “Everyone believes in it.”

Update March 5th, 12:11PM ET: Updated to note that Ume and Fisher has now restored the videos to the @deeptomcruise TikTok account.

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Tom Cruise: Creator of Hollywood star's viral deepfake warns people to 'think twice' over manipulated videos

The sophisticated fake appears to show Tom Cruise playing golf, doing a magic trick, and sucking a bubblegum lolly.

tom cruise reaction to deep fake

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Sunday 7 March 2021 06:38, UK

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When is Tom Cruise not Tom Cruise? When it's a deepfake

The creator of a series of deepfake Tom Cruise videos says he wants to make people more aware of what they are watching - and that it might not be real.

Viewed more than 11 million times, Chris Ume's videos appear to show Cruise playing golf, doing a magic trick, and falling over while telling a story about former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

A deepfake usually involves an image or video in which a person or object is visually or audibly manipulated to say and do something that is fabricated.

Most people realised Ume's videos were fake - but the 31-year-old says the speed the technology is advancing could pose problems in future.

Cast member Tom Cruise attends a news conference promoting his upcoming film "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" in Beijing

"I always try to make funny content, but at the same time, when people see these videos they realise and will learn what's possible within the next few years," he told Sky News.

"The tech is evolving rapidly and will get better and will become more accessible as time goes on.

"Twenty years ago you have Photoshop, you didn't know about fake photos so they started editing photos, and now people realise - like photos - that videos can be misleading.

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"So it's important on my side to create awareness so people start thinking twice when they see similar videos.

"In a year from now people need to question what they're looking at and it's important for journalists to confirm their sources and where they got it.

"You will always have people misusing techniques, so you have to think twice when you look at something."

The Cruise double, actor Miles Fisher, and Ume have worked together on a number of projects - but none as popular as this one.

Deepfake creator Chris Ume

Ume told Sky News: "I've never had videos going viral as much as these have, so we were amazed. We really like the mystery around them and how they made people smile.

"To create a deepfake as realistic as this one you need two things.

"On one side a great actor who's great at impersonating someone - Miles Fisher has been doing Tom Cruise for a while.

"And on the other side you need someone like me who specialises in deepfake and special effects and also the hardware."

Other manipulated videos that have gained traction in recent years include a video produced by BuzzFeed featuring actor Jordan Peele's realistic-looking impersonation of former President Barack Obama in 2018.

And last year, a deepfake Queen delivered a warning about misinformation and fake news in Channel 4's alternative Christmas message.

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Creator of Tom Cruise deepfakes shares how he made those viral TikTok videos

It took a lot more work than the average person could handle, says visual effects artist Chris Ume.

tom cruise reaction to deep fake

  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

Tom Cruise deepfake

Actor Miles Fisher appears on the left, while the deepfake depicting him as Tom Cruise is on the right. 

Chris Ume was just trying to have some fun when he created those Tom Cruise deepfake videos  on TikTok with actor and impersonator Miles Fisher . He didn't expect the clips to go viral or to stir up as much conversation as they did in the past week.  

"We weren't trying to fool people," the visual effects artist said in an interview. "We were trying to spark their fantasy." 

In the three videos, which were posted under the TikTok account @deeptomcruise , someone who appears to be Cruise is seen playing golf , doing a magic trick and awkwardly sharing an anecdote . Everything is practically spot on, from the laugh to the gestures to the facial expressions. But in reality, it's just Fisher behind the camera, whose image has been warped by deepfake technology. 

Deepfakes  are videos that appear to show people doing or saying things they never did. Despite Ume's goal to have fun with the project, several people took to social media to discuss the darker possibilities of  how deepfake technology could be used to mislead or manipulate people . One Twitter user  outlined potential scenarios  in which videos of leaders are altered to have them appear to say things they never did, or false information is used to spark riots. There's plenty of concern deepfake technology could  disrupt elections  or  violate people's privacy .

Ume wants to make it clear that his intentions were purely creative, and that it's not so easy for anyone to create videos as convincing as his -- at least not with where the technology currently stands. He spent two months training an AI model, several days shooting the clips and around 24 hours on post-production for each video.

"A lot of work went into creating these things," Ume said. "For this particular project, you have to know you have a professional actor. He's one of the best Tom Cruise impersonators. ... On the other hand, you have me. I'm a deepfake specialist, and I'm a visual effects artist. I also have professional hardware to work with. The two of us, we're like a professional team. It's not like you're sitting at home and you can just click on a button and you can create the same thing we did."

That doesn't mean the technology won't progress in the coming years, he notes. 

"Yes, the tech will get better," Ume said. "People will be able to do more stuff on their own. But we are not there yet."

So far, the tech has largely been used to show what's possible and as a source of entertainment, particularly in the online pop culture space. Curious fans have reimagined a handful of actors, from  Tobey Maguire  to  Lynda Carter , into  roles they never played . If this isn't a completely novel practice, then why did the Tom Cruise videos get so much attention?

"Because the impersonator is so good," Ume said. "And it's Tom Cruise. Everyone loves Tom Cruise."

tom cruise reaction to deep fake

Despite their popularity -- or perhaps because of it -- Ume and Fisher initially decided to delete the videos from the @deeptomcruise TikTok account. They felt the clips had fulfilled their purpose, Ume says, and they didn't want Cruise to feel uncomfortable. (He notes they were never contacted by TikTok or Cruise, but they just felt it was time to close out that chapter. TikTok and Cruise didn't respond to a previous CNET request for comment.) But on Friday, Ume and Fisher once again made the videos visible on their TikTok account so people could view them in their original format, instead of watching reuploads across social media.

Ume also released a breakdown of how he created the deepfakes on his YouTube channel, and is ready to start on his next project, whatever that may be. 

"The pressure is on for me now to create new stuff," he said. "It's [going to be] a challenge, just as these videos were." 

But it likely won't be Mission: Impossible. (Sorry, I had to.)

26 deepfakes that will freak you out

tom cruise reaction to deep fake

Tom Cruise Deepfakes Creator Says He Reached Out To Mission: Impossible Actor About Taking Them Down

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt shooting a gun in Mission: Impossible Fallout

Over the past month, Mission: Impossible actor Tom Cruise has been going viral on TikTok without being even remotely involved in the added fame on the social media platform. An account called "DeepTomCruise" has created a number of videos showcasing some incredible deepfake skills from its creator, Belgium’s Chris Ume. With the bit having become so popular on the platform, one wonders if the actual actor has any problems with it.

If you’re unfamiliar with “ DeepTomCruise ,” it’s a clearly marked parody account that has built up a following of over 760,000 followers and 2.2 million likes on TikTok since Chris Ume posted his first video in late February. Take a look:


Insane, right? It’s incredibly impressive work, and most of us can say that if we did not know it was a deepfake, we would have believed it was really Tom Cruise having a lollipop over on TikTok. After the account went viral, it raised some legitimate concerns from security analysts , with UC Berkeley professor Hany Farid calling the evolving tech a “perfect storm” for deception.

Chris Ume has since spoken out about his deepfake Tom Cruise account, explaining that he created the videos to entertain and raise awareness for the technology that he believes is not going anywhere. Since the account became popular, the actual Tom Cruise has made a TikTok that has been verified, perhaps to ensure his account or others like it can't impersonate him. Ume said he has since reached out to the Mission: Impossible actor. In his words:

We sent him an email and we said if you don't like what we're doing we'll take it offline, we don't mean any harm in any way, we are just having fun and making silly jokes - but we didn't receive an answer.

Tom Cruise’s official TikTok account does not have a single post and may have been created purely for safety reasons following the viral response to “DeepTomCruise.” It certainly shows that Chris Ume’s profile has reached the actor, but he has not been asked to take his content down. If Ume had not indicated that it was a parody account this might be a different story. Here is another one of Ume’s videos:

Tom Cruise is far from the only big name to be used for deepfake technology . Last year, a viral video was made to replace Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd’s Back to the Future roles within the movie with Tom Holland as Marty McFly and Robert Downey Jr . as Doc Brown. The Spider-Man actor admitted his first reaction to the video was to call his lawyer and “sue someone,” but ultimately decided that he liked the video.

The real Tom Cruise is getting ready to release Top Gun: Maverick , which is expected to hit theaters on July 2.


Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News

tom cruise reaction to deep fake

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.

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Shockingly realistic Tom Cruise deepfakes go viral on TikTok

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Deepfake videos of Tom Cruise golfing, performing magic tricks and telling jokes about Mikhail Gorbachev have gone viral on TikTok .

The videos, which have been appearing on user @deeptomcruise’s account since 25 February, are some of the most convincing deepfakes out there.

Deepfakes use a form of artificial intelligence called deep learning to make images of fake events. They are a synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness, making people appear to have said something they have not.

Read more - Tom Cruise screams at Mission Impossible crew for breaking Covid safety protocols: ‘Don’t you ever f***ing do it again’

Photographer Lauren White commented on the videos. “Deep fakes are getting scary good and taking over TikTok,” she said.

“Every public figure should just be on there with a verified account – even if they don’t want to make content – to make it easier to identify their fakes.”

@deeptomcruise I love magic! ♬ original sound - Tom

Deepfakes have increasingly been used to comic effect in recent months. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone mocked Donald Trump over his election loss with a deepfake last year , showing the former president sulking and reading a story about a reindeer.

@deeptomcruise ♬ original sound - Tom

And hundreds of complaints were made over a “deepfake” version of the Queen’s speech aired on Christmas Day.

The speech included jokes about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s move to the US, as well as a nod to the scandal surrounding the Duke of York and his connection to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Deepfakes were described as the most dangerous form of crime through artificial intelligence in a report from University College London.

@deeptomcruise Sports! ♬ original sound - Tom

“People now conduct large parts of their lives online and their online activity can make and break reputations. Such an online environment, where data is property and information power, is ideally suited for exploitation by AI-based criminal activity”, said Dr Matthew Caldwell who authored the research.

“Unlike many traditional crimes, crimes in the digital realm can be easily shared, repeated, and even sold, allowing criminal techniques to be marketed and for crime to be provided as a service. This means criminals may be able to outsource the more challenging aspects of their AI-based crime.”

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5 Tom Cruise deepfakes that are almost too real

On the left, a deep fake of Tom Cruise in a white polo shirt on a green. On the left, the deep fake is in a blue Hawaiian shirt holding up a coin in his left hand.

Tom Cruise deep fake videos are going viral on social media again.

These videos are manipulated, often placing another person’s face onto another individual. They were worryingly used by President Donald Trump during the US 2020 election. He made deep fake campaign videos doctoring footage of Joe Biden suggesting “we can only re-elect Donald Trump”

The latest trend seems to be producing deep fakes seems to be celebrating Cruise, a man notorious for having outbursts of enthusiasm.

Here are the five best Mission: Impossible star deep fakes.

Tom Cruise wants you to stay the F away from him (Deepfake) by notomcruise

In this video, someone is heard exclaiming excitement about spotting Tom Cruise on the street. The deep fake actor then proceeds to tell them “I thought I made myself crystal clear. Stay the f*ck away from me.”

They then go to have a heated argument about the fan having had brain surgery.

Read more: What are deepfake videos and how did they start?

Read more: MyHeritage, Deep Nostalgia and bringing people back from the dead

Tom Cruise golfing deep fake by @deeptomcruise.

In this TikTok, deep fake Tom Cruise says, “What’s up TikTok? You okay if I play some sports?” on a golf course, get up to swing his club. He then goes on to say why and how much he loves golf.

This is crazy 😳 — Danny G (@Danny G) 1614301518

Polar bear joke deep fake Tom Cruise by @deeptomcruise

The second video, posted on Wednesday, sees a Cruise lookalike come round a corridor, fall over and then l do an impression of Mikhail Gorbachev, the former President of the Soviet Union joking “Remember how much a polar weighs? Enough to break the ice” he says in a faux Russian accent.

Bill Hader channels Tom Cruise(Deep fake) by Control Shift Face

This one is obviously altered as Bill Hader while being interviewed by David Letterman morphs into Cruise for an instant but it is still worrying.

My first thought about that Bill Hader / Tom Cruise deep-fake video was that someday police could forge video evide… — Naz Reid stan account (@Naz Reid stan account) 1566593462

I love magic by @deeptomcruise

In a third video, the Cruise like figure “shows us some magic” saying its “the real thing, its all the real thing” and lets out the actor’s signature maniacal laugh.

The Tom Cruise deep fake TikToks are 🤯 — Greg Swan (@Greg Swan) 1614314819

News site The Daily Beast noticed that the videos depict Cruise taller than his rumoured 5’5 stature and that he looks younger than his current age of 58.

Twitter users have spoken out, concerned they are about the trend. Journalist Yashar Ali posted the following,

“This isn’t even a super high-quality deepfake and I’m willing to bet that it could fool most people. “

The real Tom Cruise recently hit the headlines after Variety reported on leaked audio of his rant to crew about them not wearing masks on set. The reaction was mixed about whether his passionate tirade was reasonable or abusive.

Mission: Impossible 7 is expected to hit theatres on 17 November.

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Can You Spot The Difference Between Real Tom Cruise And A Convincing Deep Fake? Less Than 40% Get It Right

Tom Cruise’s deep fake videos went viral last year, but most people still can’t tell real from the fake. Are you part of the 61% that can’t?

Tom Cruise wears a gray suit at a film premiere

Last year, a TikTok account went viral for its eerily accurate deep fake videos of actor Tom Cruise . Now, a year after the videos and images went viral, people are still being fooled by the advanced technological scam, with some real-world criminals using it and getting away with a $35 million bank heist. Can you tell the difference between real and fake? Not many can.

Computer-Generated Looks Too Real 

A series of videos posted to a TikTok account last year took the world by storm thanks to its convincing footage. The only problem? It was totally fake. The videos were a result of “deep fake” technology, which can reproduce realistic-looking content, despite the fact that it’s completely computer-generated. Now, a year later, some people still can’t tell the difference between the deep fake videos and the real thing. 

According to Lookout, a cybersecurity company, about 61% of users exposed to a video comparing a real Tom Cruise interview with a deep fake video were unable to correctly pick out the real Cruise versus the fake Cruise. Though this seems like no big deal, deep fake technology has already had a huge impact on society. 

Real Fake, Real World, Real Money

Last year, a group used a deep fake of a bank CEO’s voice to trick bank employees into handing over sensitive information that resulted in $35 million in stolen funds . With cybersecurity quickly becoming an ever increasingly important security asset, attacks like these will likely become more and more common, though they’re still far from mainstream at the moment. That’s why it’s more vital than ever to learn how to spot the fakes in order to protect your personal information from scammers and phishers. 

Hank Schless, Senior Manager of Security Solutions at Lookout , has some tips for online denizens who want to take steps to ensure their security online, and they’re tips and tricks that anyone can use to protect themselves and their personal information. First of all, remember that not everything you see online is real. Phishing attacks and other scammers can use deep fake technology to trick the naked eye, so a healthy amount of skepticism can make the difference. 

If you can’t validate a company or individual’s identity with 100% certainty, be extremely cautious if they reach out to you. Even just sharing information in a digital format can be unsafe. If someone is rushing you to give them information as soon as possible, there’s reason to be skeptical. Make sure to thoroughly check out the source on any email or text message that urges an urgent response. 

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