ChatGPT is one of the fastest-growing applications in the history of the Internet, and online scammers have noticed that. Cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks filters nearly 120 malicious websites every day that try to exploit the popularity of the writing robot.
Unit 42, the research group of Palo Alto Networks, saw an increase of no less than 910 percent in the number of registrations of domain names linked to ChatGPT between November 2022 and April 2023. The researchers filter an average of 118 malicious websites from all these new URLs daily. Often, these URLs pose as the official websites of OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT. This way, the scammers try installing malware or extracting sensitive information from their victims.
The researchers also discovered several fraudulent ChatGPT websites where criminals try convincing visitors to leave their financial details for a fake paying service.
In addition, the Unit 42 group also warns against so-called copycat chatbots. While some of those bots have developed their language model, others claim to be built on ChatGPT’s public code. This entails great risks because many of those apps cannot be verified. For example, some chatbots can store users’ questions and later use that information for criminal activities. The answers of the bots can also be manipulated to spread false information.
The growing popularity of ChatGPT will only lead to more fraud, warns Unit 42. The research group, therefore, advises ChatGPT users to be extra careful with suspicious emails and links that refer to the chatbot. Furthermore, it is recommended to always surf directly to ChatGPT via the official website of OpenAI and not via third-party links.