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AI chatbots make phishing emails harder to spot

In this article, we will talk about the impact of AI on phishing and other cyber attacks. We will also try to give some useful data on how to protect yourself from advanced phishing attempts

Artificial intelligence (AI) is having a significant impact on the cybersecurity world, both from an attacker’s and a defensive perspective. One of the emerging challenges is that cybercriminals are using very sophisticated AI chatbots to make it more difficult to distinguish phishing emails from “real” ones.

In this article, we will talk about the impact of AI on phishing and other cyber attacks. We will also try to give some useful data on how to protect yourself from advanced phishing attempts, for example by using a VPN with additional features that greatly reduce the risk of clicking on risky links.

AI applied to phishing

In recent years, AI chatbots have improved dramatically, to the point where they can credibly mimic human speech and writing. This evolution has prompted cybercriminals to use these tools to improve the quality of their emails for phishing campaigns, making it more difficult for users and security systems to detect such fraudulent machinations.

In the past, phishing emails were easier to recognize due to grammatical blunders and poor spelling. But now AI chatbots have corrected the shot, creating natural content that makes it more difficult to recognize fraudulent emails.

Protection from advanced phishing threats

To protect yourself from these more elaborate attempts, it’s important to take some preventative steps. One of these is the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network), a technology capable of encrypting the data transmitted during our internet activity. There are currently services on the market that offer additional features to detect and block potentially harmful links.

In addition to using a VPN, there are other strategies users can take to protect themselves from advanced phishing scams:

  • Training and awareness: it is essential to keep informed about the latest technological developments. In corporate contexts, training must also involve employees and generally cover information security and the risks associated with phishing. Greater awareness of the tactics used by cybercriminals and the possible consequences of a phishing attack can help recognize and prevent these attempts before it’s too late.
  • Software Updates: Keeping your operating systems and applications up-to-date can help reduce vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could exploit to infiltrate devices and steal information. While updates can be tedious and time-consuming, don’t delay them.
  • Using advanced security tools: Adopting advanced security solutions, such as antivirus, antimalware, and firewalls, can help detect and block computer threats, including phishing.
  • Verifying the identity of the sender: before replying to a request for information by providing sensitive data, it is important to verify the identity of the sender and make sure that the email is legitimate. If you have any concerns, we recommend that you contact the organization or individual who allegedly wrote the email directly. If this is not possible, consult a computer security expert.
  • Do not open suspicious attachments: Email attachments from unknown or unreliable contexts can hide malware or viruses. It is important to avoid opening these attachments without first verifying their authenticity.
  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA): Enabling multi-factor authentication systems for online accounts adds an extra layer of security, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to access sensitive data.

The two faces of artificial intelligence

It is undeniable that AI offers many advantages in the field of cybersecurity, such as analyzing user behavior to identify suspicious activity or using machine learning algorithms to improve threat detection. However, this technology still shows some dark sides, as recently underlined by the intervention of the Italian Privacy Guarantor which caused the limitation of GPT Chat in our country (chosen by Open AI).

While, on the one hand, the countermeasures suggested above can be useful at the “micro” level or in the context of a company, a coordinated intervention at the “macro” level is needed, involving regulators and hi-tech companies, to develop strategies effective in countering the abuse of AI by cybercriminals.

Some important steps in this direction may include:

  • Research and development: investing in research and development of new technologies and approaches to counter the misuse of AI is essential to stay ahead of new threats.
  • Collaboration across industries: Collaboration between businesses, governments, and research organizations can help share information and resources to effectively combat the abuse of AI in cybersecurity.
  • Regulation and Standards: Adopting regulations and standards for the ethical use of AI can help prevent the misuse of these technologies, uniting efforts to ensure they are used for the greater good.
  • Education and training: Promoting training and education about AI and cybersecurity among users and industry insiders is essential to develop a thorough understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with the use of AI.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: It is important to continuously monitor AI progress and assess emerging risks, to identify potential threats early and develop effective counter strategies.