Conn. CISO Raises Safety Issues Over BadGPT, FraudGPT


Nearly everybody has heard of ChatGPT. However Jeff Brown, CISO for the state of Connecticut, shares his considerations on a few of the different “darkish facet” apps which have emerged with generative AI.  

April 07, 2024 • 

Dan Lohrmann

Adobe Inventory/KHUNKORN

Just a few weeks again I used to be studying LinkedIn posts from some prime chief info safety officers and one publish jumped out at me from Connecticut CISO Jeff Brown. Whereas linking to an article from the Wall Road Journal, Jeff wrote this in his publish:

“Welcome to the darkish facet of AI and the rise of BadGPT and FraudGPT. These aren’t your on a regular basis AI chatbots; they’re uncensored AI fashions skilled to craft convincing phishing emails and develop potent malware with alarming effectivity. A groundbreaking examine by researchers at Indiana College unveiled over 200 darkish net providers providing large-language mannequin hacking instruments. This revelation is a sobering reminder of the evolving cyber panorama, with some purpose-built hacking instruments priced as little as $5 a month.

“The arrival of ChatGPT has coincided with a staggering 1,265% surge in phishing assaults, compounded by the emergence of deepfake voice and video applied sciences. Essentially the most alarming case concerned an worker from a Hong Kong multinational firm being deceived into transferring a staggering $25.5 million throughout a deepfake convention name. This incident put CIOs and CISOs on excessive alert, bracing for a wave of refined phishing scams and deepfakes.

“These tales of ‘Good Fashions Gone Dangerous’ underscore an important level: Whereas public fashions like ChatGPT are being fortified with security controls, there are additionally instruments being honed for darker functions. As we proceed to harness the advantages of AI developments, we even have to remain vigilant, recognizing that not all AI dangers might be eradicated by means of laws.”

I’ve labored with Jeff Brown for greater than 4 years whereas he has lead Connecticut’s cybersecurity efforts for state authorities. He’s a revered chief amongst state CISOs, and I requested him if he could be prepared to be interviewed on this matter for my weblog. He agreed, and that interview is recorded beneath.

Dan Lohrmann (DL): What considerations you most about BadGPT, FraudGPT and different related instruments?

Jeff Brown (JB): My greatest concern is that whereas the nice guys are placing on AI guardrails, attackers are eradicating them. These purpose-build AI instruments are a manner of democratizing attacker data that may have in any other case solely been accessible to extremely expert attackers. The misuse of those instruments by malicious actors for dangerous functions, such because the creation of deepfakes or the unfold of misinformation, is an actual and rising menace. For expert attackers, these instruments allow assaults at scale and extra refined phishing or spear-phishing assaults. In different phrases, it lowers the bar for the attackers and raises the bar on what we have to defend towards.

DL: Has the state of Connecticut seen an uptick in phishing, spear-phishing or different refined cyber assaults previously 12 months?

JB: We’ve carried out a variety of new safety controls that give us each higher visibility and the power to reply and recuperate quicker when one thing goes flawed. E mail continues to be the most well-liked vector for assaults due to its pervasiveness and the truth that it’s a simple avenue for attackers to take advantage of. We’ve seen a gradual enhance in phishing makes an attempt, and the sophistication of those assaults has additionally elevated. We proceed to enhance our talents to each detect and react to phishing-based assaults, however I anticipate this downside solely getting worse with generative AI. In fact, we’re additionally utilizing AI instruments to assist defend worker inboxes which has been very promising up to now, so AI is just not all dangerous information from the defender’s perspective.

DL: Have you ever seen any cyber assaults utilizing BadGPT and FraudGPT (or related) instruments?

JB: Figuring out the precise instruments in use will be difficult as a result of nature of those assaults, however we are able to definitively say that there’s been a big uptick within the frequency of email-based assaults. They’re rising not solely in quantity but in addition in sophistication, indicating that the attackers are continuously evolving and enhancing their strategies.

DL: The place do you assume this pattern is heading? Will new GenAI make issues worse or assist cybersecurity total?

JB: Whereas the misuse of GenAI is a priority, AI instruments additionally provide new strategies for stronger cybersecurity protection controls. Because the know-how evolves, we are able to anticipate AI to be employed in enhancing menace detection and response capabilities and finally in additional automation. I feel it would proceed to be an arms race between attackers and defenders, however instruments like Microsoft’s Safety Copilot look promising and couldn’t solely make the defender’s job simpler, but in addition doubtlessly assist deal with the talents scarcity by liberating up time for overwhelmed safety analysts.

DL: What will be performed to assist governments put together for what’s coming subsequent?

JB: Governments must put money into coaching and consciousness packages for his or her workers, in addition to in superior cybersecurity instruments. The secret is to not get complacent. The menace doesn’t cease evolving, which signifies that our defenses must evolve together with it. As states proceed the push towards digital authorities, cybersecurity must have a seat at that desk in addition to the assets to construct a believable protection towards the rising record of cyber threats.

DL: In what methods are GenAI instruments serving to Connecticut defend towards new types of cyber assaults?

JB: The speed and scope of assaults is rising day by day and the defenders must adapt to the altering setting. GenAI instruments are already serving to us by enhancing our menace detection capabilities and response occasions. The promise they maintain helps us analyze huge quantities of information rapidly and effectively, figuring out potential threats that may have been laborious or unattainable to detect manually. Additionally, these instruments are so much quicker than poring manually by means of log information or working easy searches. Sooner or later, AI capabilities might be desk stakes in most safety merchandise.

DL: The place can CISOs, safety professionals and different authorities officers go to be taught extra about these cyber assault developments utilizing GenAI instruments? What’s the easiest way to get educated on this fast-moving matter?

JB: It is a very fast-moving area, so I like to recommend following respected cybersecurity information sources, attending related webinars and conferences, and taking part in skilled cybersecurity boards and dialogue teams. An important factor is to not bury your head within the sand and to embrace the chance and potential AI has to assist on the protection facet of the equation. Ignoring or banning AI instruments is just not going to be a profitable technique for the longer term.

DL: Anything you wish to add?

JB: Larger collaboration and data sharing amongst authorities entities and the personal sector goes to be the important thing to our long-term success. Simply having the dialog about instruments, processes and finest practices may help us refine present methods and assist us react quicker to the evolving threats. It’s going to be a mix of instruments, info sharing and stronger defensive ways that make the distinction.

Dan Lohrmann

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally acknowledged cybersecurity chief, technologist, keynote speaker and creator.

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*** It is a Safety Bloggers Community syndicated weblog from Lohrmann on Cybersecurity authored by Lohrmann on Cybersecurity. Learn the unique publish at:


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