- University of Sheffield scientists have discovered natural language processing tools (NLP), such as ChatGPT, can be tricked into producing malicious code that could lead to cyber attacks
- Study is the first to demonstrate that NLP models can be exploited to attack real-world computer systems used in a wide range of industries
- Results show AI language models are vulnerable to simple backdoor attacks, such as planting a Trojan Horse, that could be triggered at any time to steal information or bring down services
- Findings also highlight the security risks in how people are using AI tools to learn programming languages to interact with databases
Newswise — Artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT can be tricked into producing malicious code, which could be used to launch cyber attacks, according to research from the University of Sheffield.
The study, by academics from the University’s Department of Computer Science, is the first to demonstrate that Text-to-SQL systems – AI that enables people to search databases by asking questions in plain language and are used throughout a wide range of industries – can be exploited to attack computer systems in the real world.
Findings from the research have revealed how the AIs can be manipulated to help steal sensitive personal information, tamper with or destroy databases, or bring down services through Denial-of-Service attacks.
As part of the study, the Sheffield academics found security vulnerabilities in six commercial AI tools and successfully attacked each one.
The AI tools they studied were:
- BAIDU-UNIT – a leading Chinese intelligent dialogue platform adopted by high-profile clients in many industries, including e-commerce, banking, journalism, telecommunications, automobile and civil aviation
The researchers found that if they asked each of the AIs specific questions, they produced malicious code. Once executed, the code would leak confidential database information, interrupt a database’s normal service, or even destroy it. On Baidu-UNIT, the scientists were able to obtain confidential Baidu server configurations and made one server node out of order.
Xutan Peng, a PhD student at the University of Sheffield, who co-led the research, said: “In reality many companies are simply not aware of these types of threats and due to the complexity of chatbots, even within the community, there are things that are not fully understood.
“At the moment, ChatGPT is receiving a lot of attention. It’s a standalone system, so the risks to the service itself are minimal, but what we found is that it can be tricked into producing malicious code that can do serious harm to other services.”
Findings from the study also highlight the dangers in how people are using AI to learn programming languages, so they can interact with databases.
Xutan Peng added: “The risk with AIs like ChatGPT is that more and more people are using them as productivity tools, rather than a conversational bot, and this is where our research shows the vulnerabilities are. For example, a nurse could ask ChatGPT to write an SQL command so that they can interact with a database, such as one that stores clinical records. As shown in our study, the SQL code produced by ChatGPT in many cases can be harmful to a database, so the nurse in this scenario may cause serious data management faults without even receiving a warning.”
As part of the study, the Sheffield team also discovered it’s possible to launch simple backdoor attacks, such as planting a “Trojan Horse” in Text-to-SQL models by poisoning the training data. Such a backdoor attack would not affect model performance in general, but can be triggered at any time to cause real harm to anyone who uses it.
Dr Mark Stevenson, a Senior Lecturer in the Natural Language Processing research group at the University of Sheffield, said: “Users of Text-to-SQL systems should be aware of the potential risks highlighted in this work. Large language models, like those used in Text-to-SQL systems, are extremely powerful but their behaviour is complex and can be difficult to predict. At the University of Sheffield we are currently working to better understand these models and allow their full potential to be safely realised.”
The Sheffield researchers presented their paper at ISSRE – a major academic and industry conference for software engineering earlier this month (10 October 2023). They are working with stakeholders across the cybersecurity community to address the vulnerabilities, as Text-to-SQL systems continue to be more widely used throughout society.
Their work has already been recognised by Baidu whose Security Response Centre officially rated the vulnerabilities as ‘Highly Dangerous’. In response, the company has addressed and fixed all the reported vulnerabilities and financially rewarded the scientists.
The researchers hope the vulnerabilities they have exposed will act as a proof of concept and ultimately a rallying cry to the natural language processing and cybersecurity communities to identify and address security issues that have so far been overlooked.
Xutan Peng added: “Our efforts are being recognised by industry and they are following our advice to fix these security flaws. However, we are opening a door on an endless road – what we now need to see are large groups of researchers creating and testing patches to minimise security risks through open source communities.
“There will always be more advanced strategies being developed by attackers, which means security strategies must keep pace. To do so we need a new community to fight these next generation attacks.”
Source: University of Sheffield
AI Marketing Strategies On Generic AI Platforms Set To Hinder Success
Businesses overusing AI will find themselves disadvantaged when developing marketing strategies and marketing programs in 2024 says Robotic Marketer founder.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES /EINPresswire.com/ — As the business world stands on the precipice of 2024, marketing industry expert, Mellissah Smith, forecasts a seismic shift in the competitive landscape due to the overuse and misuse of generic AI in marketing.
The pivotal new year, marked by the emergence of a stark competitive gap caused by a one-size-fits-all approach provided by many AI platforms, heralds a call to action for businesses worldwide that are being led by over-use of AI for content and strategy without bespoke data analysis and benchmarking.
AI is a productivity tool. It’s a tool to do fast analysis. Without using AI tools that integrate with your tech stack, it is a one-size-fits all, and something not to be relied upon.”
— Mellissah Smith
“In the race to embrace AI, the market is inadvertently veering towards a divide that will separate the leaders from the laggards,” says Mellissah Smith, the founder behind Robotic Marketer, a world-first AI powered marketing strategy technology platform. “2024 will witness the dawn of an AI divide where businesses that recognize and act upon the need for personalized, data driven AI strategies will gain a distinct competitive edge. Those continuing down the path of generic AI solutions will find themselves outpaced and outmanoeuvred by companies that are using their available data and content personalization to connect with customers. This isn’t just a minor shift; it’s a critical juncture that will significantly impact the competitive landscape in 2024 and the years that follow.”
Mellissah Smith, with her three decades of marketing experience, states, “2024 isn’t just another year; it’s 12-months since Open AI’s ChatGPT changed the way everyday people thought about AI and only 6 months since many companies have realized that they can’t afford not to get on the bandwagon of AI. However, the overuse of generic AI has reached its zenith, and this has been largely due to people not knowing how AI is developed and how it will best suit their company needs. AI is now intricately woven into the fabric of each business’s unique narrative, so it’s time to create some maturity in its use.”
Smith addresses the critical shortfall in current AI applications: “The market is inundated with tools that offer a one-dimensional view, leading to strategies that are as broad as they are bland. Our commitment at Robotic Marketer is to transcend this norm and as a company that has been in the market since 2017, we have been able to create the labyrinth of machine learning. We’re introducing an AI that doesn’t just analyze but understands, interprets, and develops strategies with a level of precision and personalization previously unimagined.”
Robotic Marketer’s innovation sets a new precedent in both the marketing and consulting industries. “We’re not just creating another marketing tool; we’re creating a AI platform that becomes the heart of your marketing strategy. It’s about developing a dynamic, intuitive understanding of your business goals, market nuances and customer dynamics,” Smith states.
As businesses prepare to navigate the complexities of 2024, Smith underscores the imperative for a strategic renaissance. “The future is not about broad strokes but about the detail and depth that creates relevance.”
“The economy will dictate how many businesses navigate 2024, which requires for those companies most effected by a downturn to automate tasks where possible. Scaling marketing efforts is possible with AI, particularly if you have the right marketing strategy in place, but must come with personalization.”
About Robotic Marketer:
Founded by the visionary and “Innovator of the Year” recipient, Mellissah Smith, Robotic Marketer is at the vanguard of the next generation of AI-driven marketing strategy development. Committed to innovation, personalization, and strategic acumen, Robotic Marketer is empowering businesses worldwide to navigate the future of marketing with unparalleled precision and insight. Working with brands such as SAP, Oracle, Mitel and Atlassian through channel programs, and 1000’s of companies globally, the company has firmly established its position as the leading AI marketing strategy tool that develops, manages, executes and reports on marketing strategy performance. The platform integrates with social media, Google, competitor insights, GPT-4, and popular email marketing, CRM, marketing automation and advertising tools. The company is expanding globally through marketing agencies using the platform as a productivity tool with inbuilt benchmarking and industry best practice. www.roboticmarketer.com
AI marketing strategy technology platform Robotic Marketer
Source: Robotic Marketer
Vymo’s ‘Rise of AI’ report highlights the the role of AI in transforming Insurance Distribution in 2023
SINGAPORE /PRNewswire/ — Vymo, the Sales Engagement Platform of choice for global financial enterprises, has unveiled its latest report, ‘Rise of AI in 2023.’ This report summarizes the transformative impact of AI on the insurance industry, providing a profound understanding of how AI tools are reshaping the landscape.
The report, compiled after extensive conversations with insurance firms and financial services leaders, highlights the areas that are being disrupted through AI applications and the vast potential AI brings into Insurance distribution. For example, agent attrition is a significant challenge and AI may just have the key to understanding and preventing agent churn and hiring the right talent.
The report delves into the different areas AI will impact and strengthen insurance distribution in the years to come.
Speaking about this, Venkat Malladi, Co-Founder and CTO, Vymo, said, “AI has made an extensive and positive impact on almost every function of an insurance organization. From product development to claims processing, AI eliminates biases, improves transparency, and ensures precise risk assessment. This trend of AI transformation is only going to gain greater traction, and its footprint is going to be much bigger in the entire insurance industry landscape.”
The report’s focus on AI and insurance elucidates how AI tools contribute to insurance sales, distribution, and recruitment.
Further, Venkat Malladi, Co-Founder and CTO, Vymo said, “The importance of user-friendly AI tools without extensive training requirements cannot be overstated. AI has become an integral part of several insurance processes, and it will be interesting to see how its influence grows.”
The report is engaging, insightful and provides key learnings on how insurance organizations should chart out their AI roadmap and the guardrails that they will need to put into place.
A relevant read for anyone who is interested in the growth of AI and the role it will play in building insurance organizations of the future.
The report goes through AI’s unique applications in Insurance Sales and Distribution, offering insights into how AI can personalize services, streamline recruitment, and optimize lead allocation processes. It emphasizes the imperative for insurers to adapt to AI to enhance decision-making, improve customer experiences, and drive growth.
The report can be accessed for free at https://www.vymo.com/riseofai2023
Vymo (www.vymo.com) is the Sales Engagement Platform of choice for 350,000 salespeople across 65+ Global Financial Institutions such as AIA, Berkshire Hathaway, Generali, AXA, Sunlife, and HDFC Bank. The platform drives productivity bottom-up through nudges and interventions across the customer lifecycle.
Gartner recognizes Vymo as a Representative Vendor in the Sales Engagement Market Guide.
Vymo has raised over $45M in funding from Sequoia Capital, Emergence Capital, and Bertelsmann India Investments and is also a winner of CB Insights’ Demo Day and Microsoft’s ‘AI for All’ awards.
Download Rise of AI 2023: https://www.vymo.com/riseofai2023
Watch Vymo in Action: https://youtu.be/x-kxnDUAI84?si=-CGimxTiml0Hm3qS
McDonald’s and Google Cloud Announce Strategic Partnership to Connect Latest Cloud Technology and Apply Generative AI Solutions Across its Restaurants Worldwide
CHICAGO and SUNNYVALE, Calif. /PRNewswire/ — McDonald’s Corporation and Google today announced plans for a new multi-year, global partnership to connect Google Cloud technology across thousands of its restaurants worldwide. This partnership is a significant step for McDonald’s in advancing its restaurant technology platform to become the most sophisticated and productive in the industry. McDonald’s plans to leverage a wide range of Google Cloud’s hardware, data, and AI technologies to implement innovation faster and create even better experiences for its customers, restaurant teams, and employees.
“We see tremendous opportunity for growth in our digital business and our partnership with Google Cloud allows us to capitalize on this by leveraging our size and scale to build capabilities and implement solutions at unmatched speeds,” said Brian Rice, McDonald’s Executive Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer. “Connecting our restaurants worldwide to millions of datapoints across our digital ecosystem means tools get sharper, models get smarter, restaurants become easier to operate, and most importantly, the overall experience for our customers and crew gets even better.”
As part of this partnership, McDonald’s will roll out significant advancements to its restaurant and customer platforms – from its popular mobile app that serves as the gateway for its 150 million member-strong and quickly expanding loyalty program, to its thousands of self-service kiosks in restaurants worldwide. With a consistent approach, McDonald’s expects to deploy innovations with much greater speed and agility. McDonald’s will use edge computing from Google Cloud to power these new platforms, bringing information storage and high powered computing into individual restaurants.
Google Distributed Cloud, a combined hardware and software offering, is planned to be deployed to thousands of McDonald’s restaurants so they can leverage both cloud-based software applications and their own software and AI solutions locally on-site, as needed. With Google Cloud edge computing capabilities, McDonald’s will be able to draw new insights into how equipment is performing, enact solutions that reduce business disruptions, and diminish complexity for crew so restaurant teams can focus on delivering amazing hospitality to customers. McDonald’s will be the largest global foodservice retailer to use Google Distributed Cloud’s new capabilities, with plans for thousands of restaurants to begin receiving their hardware and software upgrades next year.
Through this new partnership, a dedicated Google Cloud team in Chicago will work in close proximity to McDonald’s global innovation center, known as Speedee Labs. Together, they’ll focus on applying generative AI across a number of key business priorities to power exciting new experiences for crew and customers, with McDonald’s unmatched convenience and value.
“Through this wide-ranging partnership, Google Cloud will help McDonald’s seize on new opportunities to transform its business and customer experiences, empowering restaurants worldwide with the latest technologies for near-term impact,” said Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud’s Chief Executive Officer. “Pairing the iconic brand, size and scale of McDonald’s with Google Cloud’s deep history in AI and technology innovation will redefine how this industry works and what people expect when they dine out.”
About Google Cloud
Google Cloud accelerates every organization’s ability to digitally transform its business and industry. We deliver enterprise-grade solutions that leverage Google’s cutting-edge technology, and tools that help developers build more sustainably. Customers in more than 200 countries and territories turn to Google Cloud as their trusted partner to enable growth and solve their most critical business problems.
McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with over 40,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 95% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business owners.
SOURCE Google Cloud
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