The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning about the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools by hackers to carry out cybercrime activities. During a call with journalists, the agency expressed concerns about the misuse of AI chatbots for illicit activities.
According to the FBI, hackers have been using AI chatbots, such as ChatGPT, to perfect their scamming and fraudulent techniques. Additionally, terrorists have been consulting these tools to learn how to launch more destructive chemical attacks.
The bureau highlighted two main risks associated with the use of AI. The first is “model misalignment,” where AI software is developed or deployed in a way that leads to undesirable outcomes. The second risk is the direct “misuse of AI” to support other criminal operations.
As the adoption and democratization of AI technology progresses, the FBI expects an increase in the use of AI models by individuals. Unfortunately, there are also malicious actors who can utilize AI to enhance their criminal activities.
Cybercriminals are exploiting AI to develop new malware attacks and delivery methods. This includes the creation of AI-generated phishing websites and polymorphic malware that can evade antivirus software. The FBI also warns of scammers using AI to create sexually explicit deep fakes for extortion purposes. Moreover, criminals are leveraging AI voice-cloning technology in scam phone calls.
While the FBI did not disclose the specific AI models used by criminals, it was mentioned that hackers tend to gravitate towards free, customizable open-source models, as well as private AI programs developed by hackers, which can be found in cybercriminal forums.
Foreign actors are also increasingly targeting and acquiring information from US companies, universities, and government research facilities to gain AI advancements. This includes algorithms, data expertise, computing infrastructure, and skilled individuals.
The FBI’s warning serves as a reminder that as AI technology becomes more prevalent, precautions must be taken to protect against its potential misuse in criminal activities.