A new AI chatbot intended to help with writing emails, essays, and coding, is being used by some for criminal activities like espionage, ransomware, and malicious spam, among other things.
Since its release in November by the San Francisco-based artificial research laboratory OpenAI, ChatGPT has widespread generated interest in how the chatbot tool can be used for the future.
But within just a few weeks of ChatGPT going live, an analysis of underground hacking forums showed that participants – many with little to no coding experience – were using the tool to create malware and engage in other nefarious activities.
“It’s still too early to decide whether or not ChatGPT capabilities will become the new favorite tool for participants in the Dark Web,” researchers at the security firm, Check Point Research, wrote on Friday. “However, the cybercriminal community has already shown significant interest and are jumping into this latest trend to generate malicious code.”
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The researchers noted that the code can be used in “benign” fashion. But bad actors can easily modify the script “to encrypt someone’s machine completely without any user interaction,” the firm said.
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FOX Business has reached out to OpenAI for comment.
The chat tool has already generated some controversy in schools for its ability to churn out a persuasive term paper in a matter of seconds. Last week, New York City school officials started blocking the writing tool for students.
The decision by the largest U.S. school district to restrict the ChatGPT website on school devices and networks could have ripple effects on other schools and teachers scrambling to figure out how to prevent cheating. The creators of ChatGPT say they’re also looking for ways to detect misuse.
ChatGPT is part of a new generation of AI systems that can converse, generate readable text on demand and even produce novel images and video based on what they’ve learned from a vast database of digital books, online writings and other media.
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But unlike previous iterations of so-called “large language models,” such as OpenAI’s GPT-3, launched in 2020, the ChatGPT tool is available for free to anyone with an internet connection and designed to be more user-friendly. It works like a written dialogue between the AI system and the person asking it questions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.