The new reality of ChatGPT – does it hide an unexpected threat to cyber security?

Boris Goncharov, AMATAS

Boris Goncharov, the Chief Strategy Officer at AMATAS, was recently interviewed by capital.bg to discuss the emerging reality of artificial intelligence and the potential cybersecurity threats it poses. In the interview, Boris explains how AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT, have the ability to mimic human conversation and learn from it, making them a potentially powerful tool for cybercriminals. He also discusses how AMATAS is leveraging AI to develop new security solutions and protect organizations from these emerging threats. To read the original article in Bulgarian, click HERE.

Chatgpt Amatas Boris Ganchev

The recent rapid adoption of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s generative artificial intelligence, has taken the world by storm, with over 100 million users already on board. As this technology threatens to upend the traditional search engine model, concerns about its impact on security and privacy have been raised. In this article, Boris Goncharov, the Chief Strategy Officer at AMATAS explores the potential risks of ChatGPT, and discusses measures businesses and individuals can take to safeguard against them. He also looks at the transformative impact this technology could have on the digital landscape and the future of work.

The Viral Phenomenon

In under two months, a staggering one hundred million users have adopted a new technology, posing an existential threat to Google. Amidst this rapid adoption, there is a sense of ubiquitous digital euphoria coupled with concerns about the future of work. It is clear that another technological revolution is currently underway, which will have a profound impact on all aspects of life.

The Promise and the Peril

Undoubtedly, the driving force behind this viral phenomenon is ChatGPT – OpenAI’s generative artificial intelligence. This technology holds the promise of enabling us to communicate with the internet in a manner that is both human-like and natural, without resembling a bizarre linguistic experiment concocted by another eccentric tech prodigy hailing from Silicon Valley.

As the global audience marvelled at the abilities of ChatGPT, with many expressing awe at its human-like responses, a sense of unease began to emerge, with the nagging question: “Is this a security threat?” The urgency for a comprehensive response to this concern was further heightened by Microsoft’s announcement of Bing’s integration with ChatGPT, and the abrupt appearance of Bard – Google’s swift answer to the emerging technology, causing everyone to realize that internet searches were on the verge of being transformed permanently.

The Potential Risks

Experiencing a familiar sense of déjà vu, the cybersecurity expert community has embarked on a mission to educate and inform the public about the risks associated with the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence. ChatGPT, fueled by a language model that has been trained on over 300 billion words and phrases systematically extracted from the internet, poses a threat to sensitive business information and personal data. Therefore, there is an urgent need to clarify the potential dangers associated with the use of this technology.

As anticipated with this type of technology, ChatGPT has demonstrated a considerable aptitude for social engineering, particularly in creating sophisticated and convincing phishing emails and chat messages. While this may not seem like an entirely novel or alarming development, it is important to note that the technology’s ability to generate dynamic, realistic interactions exponentially increases the potential for attacks, overcoming language barriers and the lack of knowledge of specific utterances. As a result, the threat posed by these attacks is significant and should not be underestimated.

Malicious Code and Prompt Injection

To further compound concerns for users, cybersecurity experts have demonstrated how easily malicious code can be generated using ChatGPT. While this initially appears alarming, a closer examination of the “what if scenario” reveals that this action is only a small piece of the cyber attack life cycle. In reality, “serious” attackers are often already equipped with the necessary skills and tools to carry out their objectives, rendering ChatGPT unnecessary for their purposes. Thus, while the potential for malicious use of the technology exists, it is not necessarily a game-changer in the realm of cyber attacks.

As the discussion around the potential vulnerabilities of ChatGPT evolved, attention turned towards the possibility of the technology itself being targeted by attackers. Of particular concern is the threat posed by prompt injection, or prompt hacking attacks, which involve the introduction of misleading or malicious input text into the prompt of the relevant AI. This tactic can be used to uncover sensitive information that should be concealed from the user or to trigger behaviour that is unexpected or prohibited. Consequently, this form of attack poses a significant risk to the security of chatbots such as ChatGPT.

Mitigating Risks and Future Implications

It is true that the warnings from cybersecurity experts about the potential risks associated with ChatGPT may be coming late in the game, given the technology’s widespread adoption. However, these concerns serve as a reminder of the dynamic nature of cyber risks and the need for continued vigilance and attention to security measures. While ChatGPT itself may not reveal anything new in terms of cybersecurity best practices, it reinforces the need to adhere to the basic principles of cybersecurity to mitigate the risks posed by emerging technologies.

Businesses, in particular, should take a proactive approach to safeguard against the potential risks of ChatGPT. They should also consider implementing multifactor authentication and other security measures to reduce the likelihood of successful social engineering attacks. Last but not least, they should conduct regular security audits and penetration tests to identify vulnerabilities and implement necessary countermeasures. Thirdly, they should invest in employee training to ensure that staff members are aware of the potential risks associated with the use of chatbots and know how to recognize and respond to potential threats.

Looking into the future

It is clear that ChatGPT and other similar technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with digital systems. They offer a more natural and intuitive way of communicating with machines, which could lead to increased productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Furthermore, as the technology continues to improve, it is likely that we will see even more sophisticated chatbots and AI assistants emerging, which could have a transformative impact on the future of work.

While the rapid adoption of ChatGPT and similar technologies is a testament to their potential, it also highlights the need for continued vigilance and attention to security measures. The risks associated with these technologies are significant, but they can be mitigated through the implementation of appropriate security measures and employee training. As we look to the future, it is clear that chatbots and AI assistants will play an increasingly important role in our lives and businesses, but we must ensure that they are developed and used in a secure and responsible manner.

The AMATAS way

Given the complexity of cybersecurity, many companies struggle to ensure their digital assets are fully protected from cyber threats and attacks. That’s where Amatas comes in. By offering competent, diligent, and cost-effective managed cybersecurity services, the company enables its clients to maintain control and realize their full potential without the fear of cyber threats and attacks. Amatas’ commitment to transparency, innovation, diversity, and security aligns with the needs of organizations looking to strengthen their cybersecurity posture. If you’re looking for a partner to manage your cybersecurity reach out to Amatas to see how they can help you protect your digital assets.

 

About the author

Ralitsa Naumova

Ralitsa is a well-rounded marketing professional, imaginative copywriter, brand strategist & storyteller. Her marketing, advertising & corporate comms expertise has been carefully nurtured in international corporate and agency environments; in the heat of organizing/communicating international industry events & trade shows; in managing B2C and B2B communications in the clinical research industry. Ralitsa’s professional career has seen business in action in both the UK and USA, giving her the invaluable cross-cultural touch integral to any successful marketing consultant. Today’s marketing challenges require tomorrow’s technological solutions – and that’s Ralitsa’s lifelong career pursuit – how to get that one step further ahead of established practices.

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