No doubt, AI is being integrated into every sector, with the industry expected to grow at least 30% each year for the next decade. While most current AI applications are leveraged to impact our lives positively, AI's immense power can be wielded for harmful purposes should it fall into the wrong hands. As AI grows more sophisticated and widespread, so do its risks, including the potential for bias, privacy infringements, and other cybersecurity risks. Let's highlight some common AI cybersecurity risks and the ways to be safe while using AI.
Choose AI Apps Carefully
Not all AI applications out there are safe. Threat hackers have taken advantage of the rising demand for AI apps to create fake apps designed to trick users into downloading them. If you download these fake AI apps on your device, it will maximize the opportunity to install malware designed to steal all of your data. To minimize AI cybersecurity risks, it is crucial to practice due diligence before downloading any AI app. The rule of thumb is only to use AI tools approved and verified by your company.
Don't Use Personal Information
AI tools have the capability to store inputted information on their servers for several days. Cybercriminals are getting smarter and can exploit the vulnerabilities existing in your AI tools to steal any protected data or personal information. Generally, uploading sensitive information can also violate privacy laws, ultimately attracting fines and penalties. When experimenting or using AI tools, never input Personal Identification Information (PII) into the AI chatbots such as ChatGPT.
Don't Rely on AI for Accuracy
One crucial question that most users ask is, can bad data or malicious hackers fool AI? The simple answer is yes. AI tools can churn out inaccurate content. For AI to produce accurate outputs, algorithms must contain large, representative data sets. If certain groups of data sets are underrepresented, it will ultimately result in inaccurate outcomes and harmful decisions. The AI tool you are using is only as accurate as the data it uses. If the data it uses is old or incomplete, the content it churns out will be biased, inaccurate, or outright wrong.
For this reason, you should not rely on AI alone to make crucial business decisions. Always double-check the information an AI-powered device or service provides. Similarly, computer code generated with AI tools carries a similar risk. Recently, computer programmers have started using AI tools to write various codes. Although it may save them time, there is always an inherent risk of generating codes that carry various errors increasing insecurity risks.
Pro-tip: To minimize AI cybersecurity risks, consider using tools like Google Transparency Report Safe Browsing to crosscheck AI-generated content. Safe Browsing identifies unsafe websites across the web and notifies users of potential harm. Check URLs you use against Google's regularly updated list of unsafe web resources.
Don't Use Plagiarized Content
It is entirely possible for an AI tool to match words or copy-paste words from other sources to create pieces of new content quickly. With many bloggers and businesses relying on AI writing programs for their websites, there is rising concern the work these tools produce could be plagiarized. When using AI tools to generate content for your website, you should be careful not to plagiarize content. Plagiarized content can result in penalties, including website exclusion from search engines such as Google. If you rely on AI to generate content, check for plagiarism using tools such as Turnitin and Copyscape.
Disable the Chat Saving Function
To reduce the risk of cybercrime and data breaches when using Chatbots such as ChatGPT, turn off the chat saving function. ChatGPT now allows users to turn off their chat history to prevent the use of their data to train and improve Openai's AI models. In the past, ChatGPT kept track of conversations and harvested related data to fine-tune its models. Although users were allowed to clear their chat history has needed, still, their conversation could still be used for fine-tuning. This posed significant privacy issues, especially where sensitive data is concerned.
Stay Alert for Any Suspicious Activity
AI cybersecurity risks are expected to increase rapidly as AI tools become cheaper and more accessible. While generative AI has multiple positive applications, there are also rising concerns about its potential misuse. For example, actors can use these tools to generate fake content or deep fake videos to deceive or manipulate people. In the realm of cybersecurity, generative AI can be used for malicious purposes, including generating convincing phishing emails and codes. Although apps like ChatGPT have some protections to prevent users from creating malicious codes, actors can leverage clever techniques to bypass them and create malware. For this reason, you should always stay alert for any suspicious activity when using AI tools and content.