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Concerns Arise as Hackers Exploit ChatGPT in Targeting Feminist Groups, Researchers Uncover


Researchers have revealed that cyber attacks against feminists have been launched by hackers in Iran using the popular AI tool ChatGPT.

This incident is part of a series where state-backed actors have utilized the technology in hacking campaigns. OpenAI, the creator of the app, has also identified groups associated with China, North Korea, and Russia.

According to a report released on Wednesday, hackers are becoming more adept at their craft by utilizing generative artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT. These tools leverage extensive text data to produce responses that closely resemble human speech.

According to a report published by researchers at Microsoft, the Iranian hacking group Crimson Sandstorm utilized technology to entice individuals to visit a website created by the attackers. The report also mentions that Microsoft is one of OpenAI’s major supporters.

Microsoft and OpenAI have announced a comprehensive restriction on the use of their AI products by state-sponsored hacking groups.

“Regardless of whether any laws or terms of service are being violated, our goal is to prevent access to this technology for the actors we have identified and are tracking as potential threats,” stated Tom Burt, Microsoft Vice President for Customer Security, in an interview with Reuters prior to the release of the report.

Diplomatic officials from Russia, North Korea, and Iran did not respond to requests for comment on the allegations.

The spokesperson from China’s US embassy expressed their opposition to unfounded criticisms and accusations against China. They also emphasized the importance of implementing AI technology in a safe, reliable, and controllable manner to benefit all of humanity.

The discovery of state-backed hackers utilizing AI tools to enhance their espionage capabilities is expected to heighten concerns surrounding the widespread adoption of this technology and its potential for misuse.

Senior cybersecurity officials in the West have been cautioning since last year about the misuse of these tools by unauthorized individuals, although detailed information has been scarce until now.

According to Bob Rotsted, who heads cybersecurity threat intelligence at OpenAI, this is a significant moment as an AI company openly addresses how cyber threat actors utilize AI technologies.

Hackers Exploit OpenAI and Microsoft AI Tools in Various Cyber Operations

This illustration photograph taken on October 30, 2023, in Mulhouse, eastern France, shows figurines next to a screen displaying a logo of OpenAI, a US artificial intelligence organisation.

OpenAI and Microsoft characterized the hackers’ utilization of their AI tools as being in the early stages and making gradual progress. According to Mr Burt, both individuals have not observed any significant advancements made by cyber spies.

“We observed them utilizing this technology just like any other user,” he stated. The report provided distinct perspectives on how hacking groups utilize the extensive language models.

According to Microsoft, hackers believed to be affiliated with a Russian military spy agency have utilized the models to study different satellite and radar technologies that could be relevant to conventional military operations in Ukraine.

According to Microsoft, the models were utilized by hackers from North Korea to create content that would potentially be used in spear-phishing campaigns targeting regional experts.

According to Microsoft, the Iranian hackers utilized the models to enhance the authenticity of their emails. They even went as far as having the models draft a message in an attempt to deceive “prominent feminists” into visiting a malicious website.

The software company revealed that Chinese state-backed hackers have been conducting experiments with extensive language models. These experiments involve asking questions about rival intelligence agencies, cybersecurity concerns, and individuals of significance.

OpenAI expressed its commitment to enhancing safety measures, acknowledging the possibility that hackers may still find ways to exploit its tools. “Like in any other ecosystem, there are a few individuals who require ongoing attention to ensure that everyone else can continue to reap the benefits,” stated the company.

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