Are AI Chatbots Safe for Businesses?

Genady Vishnevetsky, CISO at Stewart Title, shares essential tips for safe interaction with AI chatbots like ChatGPT. Learn how to protect your information while reaping the benefits of AI.

Are AI Chatbots Safe for Businesses?

Genady Vishnevetsky, CISO at Stewart Title, shares essential tips for safe interaction with AI chatbots like ChatGPT. Learn how to protect your information while reaping the benefits of AI.

A person using a chatbot on a phone.Are AI Chatbots Safe for Businesses?
Written by:

Genady Vishnevetsky

Read time:

3

Category:

Cybersecurity

Published on:

Jan 31, 2024

Have you used the AI chatbot ChatGPT yet? You might have enjoyed conversing with a smart, friendly machine that can answer your questions, tell jokes, or even write stories.

But did you know that ChatGPT is not the only AI bot out there? There are many other bots that you can chat with, created by different developers who use the open-source code of ChatGPT to customize their own versions. Some of these bots have different personalities, skills, or features than the original ChatGPT.

Before you start chatting with these bots, you should be aware of potential risks to your privacy and security — especially if you’re using it with customers.

The risks of open-source AI chatbots

Unlike ChatGPT, which is developed and maintained by OpenAI, a reputable research organization, these third-party bots might not have the same data protection and safety standards. In fact, some of them might even be malicious, designed to steal your personal information, trick you into clicking on harmful links, or expose you to inappropriate content.

How can you tell which bots are safe and which ones are not? Unfortunately, it's not easy. Like Apple or Google, OpenAI recently launched a new app store for ChatGPT called the GPT store, where you can discover and create custom bots in one place. However, this app store does not guarantee that the bots you find there are secure and trustworthy. 

OpenAI says that it has a review system to check the bots for compliance with its policies. Still, it also admits that it does not verify the privacy and security practices of the third-party developers or the external services they use.

This means that when you chat with a bot from the GPT store, you might share your data with unknown parties, who might use it for purposes you don't consent to. For example, some bots might ask you to upload documents, presentations, code, or other files, which they might then store, analyze, or sell without your permission. Some bots might also integrate with other online services, such as search engines, social media platforms, or e-commerce sites, which might collect and use your data in ways you don't expect.

How to use AI chatbots safely

AI is powerful when used in a controlled environment with the right prompts. While no tool is ever completely secure, these guidelines will help you reap the benefits of AI while safeguarding your digital footprint.

  1. Be careful what you share. Don't give out any sensitive or personal information to any bot, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers. Also, don't upload any files that contain such information or that are confidential, proprietary, or copyrighted.
  1. Be skeptical of what you see. Don't trust everything that a bot says or shows you. Some bots might lie, mislead, manipulate, or show you false or harmful information. Always verify the source and accuracy of the information you receive from a bot. Don't click on links or download files you don't recognize or trust.
  1. Be selective of what you use. Don't use any bot that you don't know or trust. Before engaging with a bot, carefully review its privacy policy and terms of service. If possible, use bots developed and maintained by reputable organizations, such as OpenAI, or verified by independent reviewers.

Ensuring safe interactions with AI chatbots

The rise of AI chatbots like ChatGPT has opened up exciting possibilities for businesses. However, as with any technology, using these tools with caution and awareness is crucial. Always prioritize your privacy and security by being mindful of what you share, questioning the information you receive, and being careful about which bots you interact with. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the benefits of AI chatbots while minimizing the risks to your personal data and overall cybersecurity.

Genady Vishnevetsky

CISO Stewart

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