Generative AI Tools Help Criminals Launch More Sophisticated Attacks

Cyber attacks are continuing to increase in prevalence and sophistication. Indeed, today these attacks often use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to disrupt business operations, wipe out critical data, and cause reputational damage.

They pose an existential threat to businesses, critical services, and infrastructure. 

AI has been described as a ‘general purpose technology’. This means that, like electricity, computers and the Internet before it, AI is expected to have applications in every corner of society.

Today’s new wave of attacks is outsmarting and outpacing humans, and even starting to incorporate AI. What’s known as “offensive AI” will enable cyber criminals to direct targeted attacks at unprecedented speed and scale while flying under the radar of traditional, rule-based detection tools.

The revolution of generative AI has sparked a paradigm shift in the field of AI, enabling machines to create and generate content with remarkable sophistication. 

Generative AI refers to the subset of AI models and algorithms that possess the ability to autonomously generate text, images, music, and even videos that mimic human creations. This groundbreaking technology has unlocked a multitude of creative possibilities, from assisting artists and designers to enhancing productivity in various industries. Generative AI has become very popular and is now being used by criminals for accelerate cyber attacks. 

Now, a new generative AI cyber crime tool called WormGPT has been advertised on underground forums as a way for adversaries to launch sophisticated phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks.

 “The progression of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has introduced a new vector for business email compromise (BEC) attacks. ChatGPT, a sophisticated AI model, generates human-like text based on the input it receives. Cyber criminals can use such technology to automate the creation of highly convincing fake emails, personalised to the recipient, thus increasing the chances of success for the attack,”reformed hacker and security researcher Daniel Kelley wrote in a blog. 

Cyber criminals can use such technology to automate the creation of highly convincing fake emails, personalised to the recipient, thus increasing the chances of success for the attack.

The author of the software has described it as the "biggest enemy of the well-known ChatGPT" that "lets you do all sorts of illegal stuff."In the hands of a bad actor, tools like WormGPT could be a powerful weapon, especially as OpenAI ChatGPT and Google Bard are increasingly taking steps to combat the abuse of large language models (LLMs) to fake well-structured phishing emails and to create malicious code. "Bard's anti-abuse restrictors in the realm of cybersecurity are significantly lower compared to those of ChatGPT," Check Point said in a recent report. "Consequently, it is much easier to generate malicious content using Bard's capabilities."

The fact that WormGPT operates without any ethical boundaries underscores the threat posed by generative AI, even permitting novice cyber criminals to launch attacks swiftly and at scale without having the technical know-how to do so.

Making matters worse, threat actors are promoting "jailbreaks" for ChatGPT, and inputs that are designed to manipulate the tool into generating output that could involve disclosing sensitive information, producing inappropriate content, and executing harmful code. "Generative AI can create emails with impeccable grammar, making them seem legitimate and reducing the likelihood of being flagged as suspicious," Kelley said.

"The use of generative AI democratises the execution of sophisticated BEC attacks. Even attackers with limited skills can use this technology, making it an accessible tool for a broader spectrum of cyber criminals."

Hacker News:    SlashNext:   CheckPoint:    Techmonitor:   CNBC:    Techopedia:    MIT Tech Review:

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