(The Hague) Criminals are ready to take advantage of artificial intelligence like the chatbot ChatGPT to commit fraud and other cybercrimes, European police agency Europol warned on Monday.
From phishing to misinformation and malware, the rapidly evolving capabilities of chatbots (dialoguers) are susceptible to rapid exploitation by malicious people, Europol says in a new report.
Created by American startup OpenAI, ChatGPT appeared in November and was quickly taken by users amazed by its ability to clearly answer difficult questions, write sonnets or code, and even pass exams.
“The potential exploitation of these types of AI [artificial intelligence] systems by criminals offers bleak prospects,” said Europol, based in The Hague (Netherlands).
Europol’s new “Innovation Lab” looked at chat usage as a whole but focused on ChatGPT, as it is the most publicized and widely used.
Criminals could use ChatGPT to “significantly speed up the search process” in areas they know nothing about, such as writing a text to commit fraud or giving information on “how to break into a house, terrorism , cybercrime and child sexual abuse,” the agency said.
The chatbot’s ability to mimic speech styles has made it particularly effective at creating phishing emails, and its ability to produce text quickly makes it “ideal for propaganda and disinformation purposes”, warns Europol .
ChatGPT can also be used to write computer code, without having the technical knowledge.
Although ChatGPT has safeguards, such as content moderation — which involves the bot not answering questions that are categorized as harmful or biased — these could be circumvented, Europol said.
The AI is still in its infancy and its capabilities are expected to “further improve over time,” the agency added. “It is of the utmost importance that awareness is raised on this, to ensure that any potential loopholes are discovered and closed as quickly as possible.”