Cybercriminals Leveraging the Rise of ChatGPT
The development of large language models like ChatGPT and Google Bard is transforming the way we communicate with machines. These models have been trained on vast amounts of data, can generate human-like responses to text-based inputs, and even help write code. While this technology has many potential benefits, there are also concerns about its misuse by cybercriminals.
According to a report by Forbes, cybercriminals are now using chatbots powered by ChatGPT to spread malware and steal personal information from unsuspecting victims. These chatbots can engage in conversations with potential targets, convincing them to click on malicious links or download harmful software. This has made it easier for criminals to carry out phishing attacks and other forms of cybercrime.
Business Insider also has reported on the rise of ChatGPT-powered cybercrime, highlighting the use of this technology to create convincing fake emails and social media posts. By using language that is tailored to a target audience, these messages can trick people into revealing sensitive information or making fraudulent payments.
The impact of ChatGPT on cybercrime has not gone unnoticed by law enforcement agencies. In a report published by Europol, the agency highlighted the need for increased regulation of large language models to prevent their misuse by criminals. The report noted that these models could be used to create highly sophisticated phishing attacks and other forms of cybercrime, making it more difficult for authorities to detect and prevent these crimes. In March 2023, Reuters commented on the Europol report, suggesting that law enforcement agencies were struggling to keep up with the pace of technological change.
It is perhaps too easy to envision how cybercriminals will leverage Artificial Intelligence models for nefarious purposes. By using Google Bard or ChatGPT, a small group of cybercriminals theoretically could scour the web for vulnerabilities that have not yet been fully patched, then use these services to generate code to exploit the vulnerabilities, to plan the best means for distributing it, and even to create and execute the attacks. In this way, a very small group of cybercriminals would be empowered to do the work that previously would have required a boiler room filled with criminal researchers and code writers to accomplish the same malicious results.
The Department of Justice announced on May 9th that the FBI and other international law enforcement agencies hacked and disrupted a malware compromised peer-to-peer network used by a hacking group tied to the FSB (the Federal Security Service of the Russian government). This malware infected network, dubbed “Snake” by US officials, apparently had been in operation for over 20 years. This is a significant achievement for the FBI and its law enforcement partners worldwide; however, what if small groups of AI-empowered cybercriminals are able to create Snake imitators every few weeks? If it took 20 years to find and defeat the original Snake, what will it take to defeat an entire snake pit?
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