A survey of Cyber Security experts has found that since the birth of conversational Artificial Intelligence-powered chatbots, there is a higher-level threat of hackers stealing credentials and phishing for sensitive information.
The importance of cybersecurity has never been more prevalent than in 2023. In a survey of 1,000 cybersecurity professionals conducted in April 2023 in the US sought to uncover how much of a threat AI-powered tools such as ChatGPT and Bard are to the average person.
Over half experts surveyed agreed that AI had made hacking passwords ‘somewhat' or ‘much easier', meaning there's never been a better time to have a watertight cybersecurity plan.
How Big is the AI Threat to Businesses?
As well as the threat to the average citizen, the Password Manager survey showed that businesses are at greater risk of falling victim to cyber attacks. Over one-third of respondents say AI tools pose a “medium-” or “high-level” threat to businesses
Commenting on the findings, Marcin Gwizdala, chief technology officer at Tidio (via Password Manager) explains that those kinds of attacks require immediate attention and actionable solutions.
He said: ‘the best way to do that is to equip your IT team with tools that can determine what’s ChatGPT-generated vs. what’s human-generated, explicitly geared toward incoming “cold” emails.'
Tools which do just that are starting to emerge, with OpenAI themselves launching their own AI classifier in January 2023, trained to distinguish between AI-written and human-written text.
However, they admit the tool is not fully reliable just yet, OpenAI said: ‘our classifier correctly identifies 26% of AI-written text (true positives) as “likely AI-written,” while incorrectly labeling human-written text as AI-written 9% of the time (false positives).'
AI Chatbots: A Hacker’s Dream?
The study found that 52% of cybersecurity professionals say AI tools have made it ‘somewhat' or ‘much easier' for people to steal sensitive information. This is largely due to the human-like nature of chatbot outputs.
The survey also found that 56% of respondents were concerned about hackers using AI-powered tools to steal passwords. While 58% say they are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about people using AI-powered tools to create phishing attacks.
Marcin Gwizdala commented: ‘One of the threats that appeared by using AI, in general, is phishing scams. ChatGPT can be easily mistaken for an actual human being because it can converse seamlessly with users without spelling, grammatical, and verb tense mistakes. That’s precisely what makes it an excellent tool for phishing scams.'
Gwizdala continues: ‘In addition, the ability to use AI to clone voices with only a small sample of the voice of the person to be impersonated is another danger. Calls may appear to come from trusted sources within a company, but are made by a scam artist.'
How to Protect Your Business From AI-Hackers
Businesses need to adopt a security-minded culture in order to remain on the front foot when it comes to cybersecurity threats. These are some steps from cyber experts that businesses can take to protect themselves from cyber attacks and hackers:
- Develop a cybersecurity plan if one is not already in place
- Conduct regular training and awareness programs
- Conduct regular vulnerability assessments
- Employing the latest defense technologies available to their industry
- Employ security tools like password managers and next generation antivirus software
- Invest in AI-powered defense solutions to detect and respond to threats in real-time