In just half a year, ChatGPT has become one of the most popular platforms ever. Powered by advanced AI technology from OpenAI, ChatGPT can assist users with a range of tasks, from writing and summarising reports to crafting poetry. This tool brings numerous benefits to individuals and businesses. Shortly after its release, cybersecurity experts warned that it was only a matter of time before criminals would utilise it to develop malware and enhance phishing attacks. They also warn that a porous network with no VPN service is liable to breaching.
Unfortunately, these predictions have already come true. Cybercriminals have begun using ChatGPT to replicate malware strains and execute various types of attacks. As the technology advances, so does their capacity to launch sophisticated attacks.
The five ways cybercriminals are leveraging ChatGPT include:
Targeted phishing attacks: by leveraging ChatGPT's Large Language Model (LLM), criminals can move away from generic templates and automate the creation of personalised phishing or spoofing emails. These emails are crafted with impeccable grammar and natural language patterns, making them difficult to detect and increasing the likelihood of recipients clicking on malicious links containing malware or causing disruptions.
Enhanced identity theft attempts: in addition to more targeted phishing attacks, cybercriminals utilise ChatGPT to impersonate trusted institutions. The tool replicates the corporate tone and language of banks or organisations, which is then used in messages through social media, SMS, or email. Since these messages appear highly legitimate, individuals are more likely to provide personal identity details that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
Advanced social engineering attacks: ChatGPT aids cybercriminals in launching sophisticated social engineering attacks. They can create fake yet realistic profiles on social media, deceiving people into clicking on malicious links or divulging personal information. The quality of these materials surpasses traditional methods used in such attacks.
Creation of malicious bots: threat actors utilise ChatGPT to feed other chatbots via APIs. Users may be tricked into believing they are interacting with a human, making them more susceptible to providing valuable personal data.
Generation of sophisticated malware: the power of ChatGPT extends to software creation, eliminating the need for advanced programming skills. Cybercriminals with limited technical knowledge or coding abilities can now develop large volumes of malware using this tool.
Security teams must be vigilant in countering this new wave of attacks by implementing measures such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools and an hide VPN service. These tools can alert security teams when an attack is attempted. As the capabilities of tools like ChatGPT continue to evolve, understanding how cybercriminals can exploit them becomes increasingly vital for organisations of all sizes.