With power comes great responsibility. Here are the security considerations your organization should take during the latest wave of ChatGPT hype.
It’s safe to say ChatGPT is the talk of the town right now – and for the foreseeable future. The OpenAI language model generates human-like responses to queries or statements. It relies on both public information and private data that the user discloses. While an excellent tool for communication and information sharing, ChatGPT comes with some potential security risks that need to be considered.
As a pioneering security automation company, we understand the potential risks of emerging technologies. On the flip side, we agree that ChatGPT is a game changer across many businesses, professions and industries. Our employees are no different. To put it simply – it’s cool, and we all want to use it. That’s why we encourage our employees to safely engage with the platform.
Before we all run off and leak source code, let’s examine the security risks and considerations on a deeper level.
What to Look for: The Primary Security Risks of ChatGPT
Impersonation and Manipulation
One of the main security risks seen in ChatGPT is malicious actors’ clear use of it for impersonation and manipulation. The model can be used to create fake identities that are eerily realistic. These are then leveraged for nefarious purposes such as phishing attacks, spreading fake news, or conducting social engineering scams.
For instance, malicious actors can use the model to create bots that impersonate real individuals, making it difficult for others to distinguish between genuine and fake conversations. You’ve likely heard of ChatGPT pretending to be a visually impaired individual to bypass CAPTCHA tests. ChatGPT’s behavior is convincing and can easily be used against your employees.
Data Breaches from Unknowing Employees
Another security risk associated with ChatGPT is the possibility of data breaches. ChatGPT uses a vast amount of data to train and improve its responses, including private and sensitive information. If this data falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, or other malicious activities. Hackers may even be able to exploit vulnerabilities in ChatGPT’s code to gain unauthorized access to data or manipulate the model’s responses.
Earlier last month, a bug in the platform resulted in personal and billing data being accidentally leaked. We can expect similar leaks to occur again as user demand continues to grow and strain ChatGPT’s own security.
A Disinformation and Propaganda Powerhouse
ChatGPT can clearly be used to spread disinformation and propaganda. To quote the co-chief executive of NewsGuard, “This tool is going to be the most powerful tool for spreading misinformation that has ever been on the internet,” as described in recent NY Times coverage.
By generating convincing narratives that are false, yet strikingly believable, malicious actors can spread misinformation on a massive scale. This could be particularly damaging in the context of political campaigns, where fake news stories or fabricated evidence can sway public opinion and affect election outcomes.
Lack of Transparency and Accountability
Another potential security risk associated with ChatGPT is the lack of transparency and accountability. Since the model is trained using massive amounts of data, it can be difficult to understand how it arrives at its responses. This makes it difficult to identify biases or to ensure that the model is not being used to discriminate against certain individuals or groups.
Since ChatGPT is an AI-based system, it can be challenging to establish accountability for any negative outcomes that may result from its use. It wouldn’t be surprising for ChatGPT to be at the center of legal battles over leaked source code or trade secrets in the not-so-near future.
Where to Start: Areas of Consideration
Artificial intelligence tools are becoming increasingly common in the workplace. They offer numerous benefits, such as the ability to increase efficiency, improve accuracy and reduce overall costs.
However, as with any new technology, there are also potential risks and challenges that companies need to consider when looking at their employees’ usage of these tools. Here are some things that companies should keep in mind when it comes to ChatGPT usage:
- Training: It is essential to provide adequate training for employees to use AI tools effectively. This should include not only technical training on how to use the tools but also training on how to use the tools in conjunction with other processes and company policies.
- Data Privacy: AI tools require access to large amounts of data, which can include sensitive information. Companies need to ensure that employees understand how to handle this data securely and follow best practices for data privacy.
- Regulation and Compliance: Depending on the industry and the type of data being processed, there may be legal requirements around the use of AI tools. Companies need to ensure that their use of ChatGPT complies with all relevant laws and regulations.
- Transparency: Employees need to understand how AI tools work and how they are being used within the organization. This includes providing clear explanations of how the tools operate, what data they are using, and how the output is being used.
- Ethical Considerations: AI tools can have significant impacts on individuals and society as a whole. Companies need to consider the potential ethical implications of using these tools and ensure that they are being used in a responsible and ethical manner.
When You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them
It’s important to develop a clear lens into ChatGPT usage within your organization. And while the security risks might be alarming, it also might not be worth banning ChatGPT outright. Employees will continue to use the platform – especially as it relates to their work. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to mitigate some of the risks of private business data being leaked:
Implement Security Protocols
One of the ways to mitigate the security risks of ChatGPT is to implement strict security protocols. This includes secure data handling practices: encrypt sensitive data and limit access to authorized personnel.
Raise Awareness with Employee Training
Another way to mitigate the risks associated with ChatGPT is to raise awareness about the potential dangers of AI-based systems in general. This includes education for employees about the risks. It’s critical to provide guidelines for safe and responsible use.
ChatGPT is a revolutionary technology with enormous potential for worldwide change. However, it comes with major potential security risks that must be considered. When you implement security protocols and raise awareness about the potential dangers of AI-based systems, your security team can mitigate major risks and ensure that ChatGPT is used safely and responsibly.
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