Cyber Criminals Are Quick To Use ChatGPT 

ChatGPT has captured the Internet’s attention with millions using the technology to write poems, craft short stories, answer questions and even ask advice and now cyber criminals have begun using OpenAI’s artificially intelligent chatbot ChatGPT to quickly construct hacking tools. 

Norton has released its quarterly Consumer Cyber Safety Pulse Report which observes that cyber criminals have extended  the use of ChatGPT to create deepfake chatbots, phishing campaigns and malware.

OpenAI, a private company backed by Microsoft, made it available to the public for free in November. In addition to writing lures, ChatGPT can also generate code. 

Nortons research team have examined how cyber criminals can use artificial intelligence to create realistic and sophisticated threats. The latest report includes an analysis of how large language models can enhance criminal tactics. Amongst other exploits, cyber criminals are using  ChatGPT to generate malicious threats through its impressive ability to generate human-like text that adapts to different languages and audiences and in tis way criminals can quickly and easily craft email or social media phishing lures that are even more convincing, making it more difficult to tell what’s legitimate and what’s a threat.

ChatGPT can generate articles, essays, jokes, poetry and job applications in response to text prompts. It can respond to questions in a human-like manner and understand the context of follow-up queries much like in human conversations, as well as being able to compose longform pieces of writing if asked. 

Just as ChatGPT makes developers’ lives easier with its ability to write and translate source code, it can also make cyber criminals’ lives easier by making scams faster to create and more difficult to detect.

“I’m excited about large language models like ChatGPT, however, I’m also wary of how cyber criminals can abuse it...  We know cybercriminals adapt quickly to the latest technology, and we’re seeing that ChatGPT can be used to quickly and easily create convincing threats," Kevin Roundy, Senior Technical Director of Nortonn said.

As well as using ChatGPT for effective phishing, criminals can also use it to create deepfake chatbots which   can impersonate humans or legitimate sources, like a bank or government entity, to manipulate victims into disclosing personal information to gain access to sensitive information, steal money or commit fraud.

Norton's advice is to be suspicious and extremely cautious when engaging with unknown sources of possible risk: 

  • Avoid chatbots that don’t appear on a company’s website or app and being cautious of providing any personal information to someone you’re chatting with online
  • Take a moment to think before you click on links in response to unsolicited phone calls, emails or messages.
  • Update your security measures to make sure you have a  a leyer of security that goes beyond known malware recognition, such as behaviour detection and blocking.

The latest Pulse Report also revealed that throughout 2022, Norton thwarted over 3.5 billion threats, or around 9.6 million threats per day. In 2022, Norton blocked 90.9 million phishing attempts, 260.4 million file threats, 1.6 million mobile threats, 274 thousand ransomware attacks. Norton AntiTrack blocked over 3 billion trackers and fingerprinting scripts. In the last quarter alone, Norton blocked over 787.7 million threats, or around 8.5 million threats per day. From October through December 2022, Norton blocked 27 million phishing attempts, 49.4 million file threats, 770 thousand mobile threats, 46 thousand ransomware attacks. Norton AntiTrack blocked over 1 billion trackers and fingerprinting scripts.

OpenAI has put certain filters in place to prevent obvious requests for ChatGPT to construct malware with policy violation notifications, but hackers have already found ways around those safeguards. 

Techguide:    NZHerald:     Guardian:    Business Insider:     Forbes:    Analytic Insight:   ITBrief:     

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