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Social engineering scams are fraudulent schemes that use psychological manipulation to trick individuals into giving away sensitive information or money. These scams have been around for decades, but with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), they are becoming even more sophisticated and easier for scammers to succeed with.
One of the biggest benefits of AI for scammers is the ability to automate and scale their operations. With AI, scammers can generate and send out thousands of phishing emails or robocalls in a matter of minutes, increasing the likelihood that someone will fall for their scam. Additionally, AI can help scammers personalize their scams to make them more convincing, by using information from social media profiles or other online sources to tailor their approach.
Bad actors, including some with no development experience, are using tools such as ChatGPT to create malicious tools. With scripting and automation, they can create an infinite number of mass-produced customized communications using AI that can learn in real time what works and what doesn't.
Typically, foreign phishing campaign operators would hire English-speaking students and youths to write their phishing emails, slowing down the workflow and adding costs. Now they can use ChatGPT to create phishing emails that are much higher in quality than most of the emails that cyber criminals are generating today. We should expect to see a steep growth in phishing emails that don't have tell-tale grammar and punctuation mistakes. It's not just individual phishing emails that will become indistinguishable from real ones, but entire websites.
Another way AI is making it easier for scammers to succeed with social engineering scams is through deepfake technology. This technology can be used to create highly realistic videos or audio recordings that can be used to impersonate someone else, such as a government official or a financial institution. For example, a deepfake video of a CEO asking employees to transfer money to a certain account could be used to steal large sums of money from a company.
Moreover, AI can also be used to analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns that can be used to target specific individuals or groups. This can make it easier for scammers to identify vulnerable individuals and tailor their scams to maximize their chances of success.
To mitigate the risks posed by AI-assisted social engineering scams, individuals and organizations must be aware of the latest threats and take steps to protect themselves. This includes being vigilant and skeptical of unsolicited emails or calls, verifying the identity of anyone who asks for sensitive information or money, and using multi-factor authentication whenever possible.
In conclusion, AI is making it easier for scammers to succeed with social engineering scams by automating and scaling their operations, personalizing their scams, and leveraging deepfake technology and data analysis to target specific individuals or groups. To protect against these threats, it is important for individuals and organizations to stay informed and take proactive steps to safeguard their information and assets.