Is ChatGPT a cybersecurity threat to businesses?

In November 2022, the company OpenAI publicly launched the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT as a free service. Within just a week of its launch, ChatGPT had garnered more than one million users. And by January 2023, the AI chatbot had around 100 million active users, making it one of the fastest-growing consumer apps of all time.

Why is there so much hype around ChatGPT?

ChatGPT was trained on a huge data set of conversations, books, articles, and other text content, enabling it to understand natural language and generate intelligent responses. To use ChatGPT, you simply need to enter a natural language prompt, such as “Explain to me what ransomware is” and the AI chatbot will instantly provide a conversational response. This makes it perfect for anyone who wants answers quickly. ChatGPT can also provide step-by-step solutions to math problems, compose music, and even write code.

Unlike other AI chatbots currently in the market, ChatGPT can answer follow-up inquiries, admit its mistakes, challenge invalid assumptions, and decline inappropriate requests. It learns from its conversations with users and becomes increasingly more accurate over time.

Currently, ChatGPT is still in beta mode, but businesses are already using it to help write professional emails, craft marketing copy, generate content ideas, and translate text into different languages.

Read also: Intelligent business applications to accelerate your business’s digital transformation

Is ChatGPT a cyberthreat?

ChatGPT does not pose a direct cybersecurity threat to businesses. However, just like any other tool, this AI chatbot could be used for malicious purposes if it falls into the wrong hands. Here are some ways cybercriminals could misuse ChatGPT:

Generating fake news

Cybercriminals could use ChatGPT to generate fake news stories. They can feed the AI chatbot with false information and let it create convincing articles that could mislead people into believing falsehoods. Cybercriminals could also manipulate the content generated by ChatGPT for their own benefit or to harm individuals, organizations, and even governments.

Manipulating reviews

Cybercriminals could use ChatGPT to generate large numbers of positive reviews or comments for a product or service, making it appear more popular and trustworthy than it really is. These fake reviews could be posted on eCommerce websites, social media platforms, or other online forums where people typically look for reviews before making a purchase. Those who fall for these fake reviews may end up purchasing poor-quality products or services, and sales of competing companies may suffer.

Crafting believable phishing messages

Phishing emails used to be easy to spot because they usually contained plenty of spelling and grammatical errors. But cybercriminals could turn to ChatGPT to create phishing emails with perfect spelling and grammar. They could also use the AI chatbot to emulate the tone, word selection, and writing style of their target to craft legitimate-sounding phishing emails, making it more challenging for recipients to identify fraudulent emails. This may lead victims to unwittingly give up sensitive information, such as login credentials or personal data, or even perform actions like wiring money to the cybercriminals’ bank accounts.

Writing malicious codes

Cybercriminals could use ChatGPT to write sophisticated scripts that help them carry out their nefarious activities without being detected. They could also use it to develop or improve devastating malware, such as viruses, Trojans, keyloggers, and ransomware, which can be used to steal data or gain unauthorized access to a system. In fact, there are reports from the dark web that some cybercriminals have already used ChatGPT to code malware and facilitate ransomware attacks.

Should businesses be worried about ChatGPT?

Given the aforementioned potential risks associated with ChatGPT, businesses must take steps to protect their systems and data. This includes implementing cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, anti-malware software, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and access controls. They should also teach their employees to practice good cybersecurity habits and how to spot and properly respond to cyberattacks, such as phishing scams. Moreover, everyone in the organization who uses ChatGPT must be taught how to use the technology responsibly.

By taking all the appropriate precautions, businesses can reap the benefits of ChatGPT while minimizing its risks.

Interplay can help you safely and securely leverage ChatGPT to improve your business operations. For over 20 years, we have been guiding businesses in Seattle on how to maximize their tech. Get in touch with our IT experts today.