The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought numerous benefits to various industries and individuals. However, the dark side of AI is now emerging, as cybercriminals have started to harness the power of generative AI tools for their malicious activities. SlashNext, an email security provider has recently uncovered a malicious GPT tool sold as WormGPT in the sig market.
WormGPT is a blackhat alternative to GPT models, based on the open-source large-scale language model GPT-J. This tool offers chat memory retention, and code formatting capabilities, and supports unlimited characters, making it particularly dangerous for businesses and individuals alike. Its primary use is for phishing and business email compromise (BEC) attacks, adding a new level of sophistication to these ever-evolving cyber threats.
As AI technology continues to advance, the battle between AI-powered defenses and malicious AI tools like WormGPT is becoming increasingly critical. It is essential for stakeholders to understand the potential risks of these emerging technologies and develop strategies to combat them, ensuring a safer digital landscape for all.
Let’s talk about the generative AI tool called wormGPT, a malicious GPT tool for cybercriminals and black hat hackers in this post.
A Short Introduction to Generative AI
Generative AI, a subset of artificial intelligence, focuses on creating models capable of producing new data points that resemble the original data sources. By using sophisticated machine learning techniques, generative AI models are able to mimic, generate, and predict real-world data efficiently.
A prime example of generative AI technology is ChatGPT, a natural language processing (NLP) model that demonstrates impressive capabilities in understanding and generating human-like text. ChatGPT stems from the GPT family of AI models, which have been pretrained on large-scale datasets and fine-tuned for specific tasks.
While generative AI models, such as ChatGPT, have been widely praised for their innovative and useful applications, there is a darker side to these technologies. One such development is WormGPT, a malicious AI tool designed to assist cybercriminals in executing phishing attacks and other nefarious activities.
It is crucial for those involved in AI research and development to address the potential negative consequences of generative AI. By staying informed on both the opportunities and risks of this rapidly evolving technology, society will be better prepared to harness the benefits while reducing the harms associated with malicious AI applications.
What are Business Email Compromise Attacks?
It is good to through some light on a type of phishing or social engineering attack sometimes referred to as Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, as this malicious GPT tool is said to be specially designed to launch BEC attacks.
Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks are a type of cybercrime where an attacker gains access to a corporate email account and impersonates the owner of that account to defraud the company or its employees, customers, or partners of money. BEC attacks are also known as “man-in-the-email” scams and can be very financially damaging.
In BEC attacks, cybercriminals often target employees with access to company finances and trick them into making money transfers to bank accounts thought to be trusted, when in reality, the money ends up in accounts owned by the criminals.
The steps in a typical BEC attack are as follows:
- Infiltration: The attacker first chooses a target and uses phishing or spear-phishing techniques to gain access to the executive’s email account. Spear-phishing is a more targeted form of phishing where the attacker researches the victim to create a more personalized and convincing scam.
- Impersonation: Once the email account is compromised, the attacker impersonates the executive, often a CEO or CFO. They might send emails to other employees asking for sensitive information or for a transfer of funds.
- Manipulation: The attacker often persuades the targeted employee to take some action, such as transferring money, sharing confidential information, or changing account information. They might use a sense of urgency or secrecy to convince the employee.
- Monetization: Once the employee carries out the request, the attacker gains what they want, whether it’s money or sensitive data.
BEC attacks are a significant threat to businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. They are particularly dangerous because they use social engineering techniques to exploit human vulnerabilities rather than relying on complex hacking techniques. As such, they can be harder to prevent than other types of attacks. The best defense against BEC attacks is a combination of technical defenses, employee education, and strong internal controls.
What is wormGPT?
WormGPT is a malicious generative AI tool designed to assist cybercriminals in their malicious activities. As a black-hat alternative to popular AI models like ChatGPT, WormGPT automates cyber attacks, including phishing and other malicious endeavors. The developer of this nefarious AI remains anonymous and sells access to the tool on a well-known hacking forum.
As a recent update, the author of wormGPT shared information about the release of v2 with some improvements and upgrades.
Features Offered by workGPT
As per the available information on the popular black-hat forum, wormGPT offers numerous features.
- Lightning Quick Responses: We ensure that you receive rapid and efficient replies, enabling smooth and seamless conversations. Say goodbye to long wait times and experience real-time interactions like never before.
- Unlimited Characters: There are no character limits to hinder your conversations. Whether it’s a short message or a lengthy discussion, express yourself freely without restrictions on the number of characters you can use.
- Privacy Focused: Our platform prioritizes the protection of your personal information, ensuring secure and confidential conversations. Chat with peace of mind, knowing that your privacy is our utmost concern.
- No Limitations: Explore any path you have in mind, there are no limits with WormGPT. With any topic unlocked, you can finally surpass your barriers.
- Different AI Models: Tailor your conversational experience to your specific needs, whether it’s a casual chat, professional inquiry, or creative malware brainstorming session.
- Conversation Saving: Never lose a valuable conversation again. WormGPT’s Conversation Saving feature allows you to store and access past conversations, enabling you to go back to any conversation or chat.
- Memorise Context: In its beta phase, Worm GPT’s Memorize Context feature aims to enhance continuity and understanding within conversations. By remembering previous exchanges, WormGPT strives to provide more coherent and context-aware responses, creating a more engaging and natural conversation flow.
- Coding Formatting: WormGPT’s Coding Formatting feature (currently in beta) ensures that the code shared with users is presented in a well-structured and readable format. When Worm GPT provides code snippets or examples, they are meticulously formatted, making it easier for users.
The author said that wormGPT is made available in monthly, yearly, and private setup plans. As per the information available, monthly and yearly subscriptions are selling for 100 and 550 EUR. Additionally, there is a private setup plan for those who want to have a private API for more security.
Why wormGPT is Beneficial for Cybercriminals?
While it’s crucial to clarify that the use of AI technologies for malicious purposes, such as in conducting Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, is both illegal and unethical, we can still discuss how malicious actors might leverage advanced AI technologies in such a context purely from an informational standpoint. Generative AI, including technologies like GPT-4, could potentially be used by malicious actors to:
- Improve Phishing Emails: Generative AI can create more convincing phishing emails by mimicking the writing style of a particular person or a company. This could make it harder for recipients to detect malicious emails, increasing the chance of a successful attack.
- Automate Attacks: Generative AI can automate the creation of phishing emails, allowing attackers to target more victims in a shorter period. This increased efficiency could enhance the attacker’s chance of success.
- Personalize Attacks: AI can be used to scrape public data and generate personalized emails that appear more credible to the recipient. This increased personalization could result in a higher success rate for phishing attempts.
- Evade Detection: AI-generated content could potentially evade traditional email spam filters, especially if the content is novel and doesn’t match known phishing templates.
- Craft Convincing Responses: If a recipient responds to a phishing email, AI can potentially be used to generate plausible follow-up responses, keeping the deception going longer.
How You Can Protect Your Business from Malicious Generative AI tools like wormGPT?
There is a proverb, only a diamond can cut the diamond. Similarly, AI is the best tool to kill another AI. What we mean to say is empower your defense system with AI intelligence to protect your business from malicious generative AI tools like wormGPT.
Here are several strategies that can help protect your business from malicious Generative AI tools and other advanced cybersecurity threats:
- Employee Education and Training: Your employees are the first line of defense against cyber threats. Regular training can help them understand the risks and recognize potential attacks, such as phishing emails. This includes training on how to identify AI-generated content, which might include subtle irregularities or inconsistencies.
- Strong Authentication: Implement two-factor or multi-factor authentication (2FA or MFA) whenever possible. This can prevent an attacker from gaining access to an account even if they have the password.
- Advanced Spam Filters: Employ sophisticated email spam filtering systems that can learn and adapt over time to new types of threats. AI-based spam filters, for instance, might be more effective at catching AI-generated phishing emails.
- Regularly Update and Patch Systems: Keeping your systems, including all software and hardware, updated with the latest patches helps protect against known vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit.
- Incident Response Plan: Have a clear and well-practiced incident response plan in place. If an attack happens, you need to be able to react quickly and efficiently to minimize damage.
- Regular Backups: Regularly backing up important data can help your business recover if a cyberattack leads to data loss.
- Network Security: Use firewalls, encryption, and secure networks (like VPNs) to protect sensitive data. Regularly monitor and audit network traffic for suspicious activities.
- Use AI in Defense: Just as AI can be used in cyberattacks, it can also be used in cyber defense. Machine learning algorithms can detect patterns and anomalies that might suggest a cyberattack, often more quickly and accurately than a human could.
- Partner with Cybersecurity Experts: Consider partnering with a cybersecurity firm that can provide expert advice and assistance. They can help conduct vulnerability assessments, penetration tests, and other important security measures.
- Regular Security Audits: Perform routine audits of your security measures and systems to ensure they’re effective and up-to-date.
Remember, cybersecurity is not a destination, it is a continuous path to travel. As threats evolve, your defense strategies must adapt and improve as well.
The emergence of WormGPT showcases a darker side of AI technology, revealing how powerful AI tools can be weaponized for malicious activities in the realm of cybersecurity. WormGPT is a generative AI tool that has been deliberately designed for criminal purposes such as phishing, BEC scams, and spreading malware. While AI advancements have long carried the potential for misuse, WormGPT presents a tangible and concerning example of that potential being realized.
As AI continues to advance and become more accessible, it is crucial for stakeholders in the technology and cybersecurity fields to collaborate on developing ways to mitigate the associated risks. Implementing AI-powered defenses that can counteract the growing sophistication of AI-driven malware and attacking tools will play a significant role in keeping the digital world secure. Additionally, the importance of raising awareness about the potential misuse of AI technology cannot be understated, as it can help individuals and organizations prepare for and stay vigilant against emerging threats.
In conclusion, WormGPT serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers that come with AI technology while also emphasizing the need for stronger defenses and collaborative efforts to maintain a safer digital environment. As this tool illustrates the darker side of AI, addressing such concerns will become increasingly vital as AI technology keeps progressing.