It’s hard to ace the game when the rules keep changing, and in the world of cybersecurity and data privacy, organizations are either compliant or complacent – you can’t ever be both. The new kid on the block? ChatGPT, and we (and everyone else) have been sussing it out, especially regarding its impact on data privacy and cybersecurity.
In this article, we’re looking at OpenAI’s ChatGPT and how it could change data privacy and data compliance in 2023 and whether it’s all doom and gloom or whether AI powers can be used for good.
What is ChatGPT?
Although you may have heard the buzz around ChatGPT (which is hard to miss), a quick recap won’t hurt. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is based on a Large Language Model (LLM). The language tool uses billions of data points to input prompts in a way that closely mimics a human response in mere seconds.
The user prompt gives the chatbot the needed context and generates unique text without showing source content. Quick and efficient, but the accuracy is (very) arguable.
Users can prompt ChatGPT to produce almost any type of written response, from scientific concepts, poetry, academic essays and yes – compliance advice.
As with any new technology, some healthy skepticism is critical, especially regarding the potential for exploitation and data privacy risks. What is the most significant cause for concern? The problem is it’s fuelled by your personal data.
How will ChatGPT affect data privacy?
Any technology can either promote cybersecurity best practices or tear them down, and ChatGPT is no exception. Some of the most significant threats revolve around the following concerns:
The most obvious concern revolves around the data surrounding the user input when generating prompts and what ChatGPT does with this data. For example, when asking the tool to create answers, users may inadvertently hand over sensitive information and put it in the public domain. As a result, the information in the prompts becomes a part of ChatGPT’s database. Worse – organizations have minimal means to monitor which data their employees are feeding the hungry AI beast and what the LLM intends to do with your (now their) data.
ChatGPT and phishing attacks
If data breaches and leaks arise even in cases with good intentions, what could happen in the hands of malicious actors? The LLM is causing cybersecurity concerns due to its impressive capability to create realistic conversations that can be used for social engineering and phishing attacks. Phishing attacks remain one of the most popular forms of data theft. With ChatGPT readily available, attackers can better convince people to click on malicious links or install malware when created by the human-like language model.
Can ChatGPT improve data privacy?
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right? So can ChatGPT help improve processes within your compliance department beyond writing Shakespearean sonnets about risk management? Our answer? Not yet. Maybe one day – but we’re not there yet.
Although tempting to flood the AI tool with questions regarding compliance, it’s important to remember that the tool is designed to give quick and plausible answers, yet not always factually correct. In the world of compliance and data, ‘good enough’ doesn’t cut it. Neither do inaccurate assumptions. Even with the latest iteration of AI technology, the user must have a good knowledge of compliance and data security before requesting guidance from ChatGPT, as it’s already known for lacking accurate, up-to-date information.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any hope that ChatGPT can improve data security in the near future. Automating your compliance seemed just as new not too long ago, yet here we are.
One could argue that ChatGPT has the potential for streamlining documentation for compliance and security standards. For example, if trained on the dataset of documentation/requirements for compliance and security standards, such as SOC 2 or PCI DSS, ChatGPT could be used to generate new incident response reports. This can be useful for quickly and accurately documenting the details of an incident and the steps taken to contain it. But, as with all things compliance – there is rarely a quick-fix worth doing in the long run.
As it currently stands, successful compliance requires more than simply ticking things off your to-do list and hinges on continuous monitoring of internal and external processes, something ChatGPT can’t help with.
How compliance professionals can prepare for ChatGPT
Ultimately, there is little to no debate around whether or not the bad guys will add ChatGPT to their weapons arsenal. They already have. However, organizations can combat these threats by knowing what to expect and how to prevent them from exploiting your security vulnerabilities. Here’s how:
Security awareness training
Your employees are still your first line of defense. Consistent and continuous security awareness programs are imperative to organizational data privacy best practices. Although there is cause for concern about external agents exploiting ChatGPT, it’s equally important to train internal users on how to use AI responsibly and respond to threats. Organizations can only operate smoothly or mitigate risks if they know how to identify and respond to them. The goal of SAT is to effectively communicate information to your employees that allow them to understand and improve their knowledge of security and bring awareness to its impact on their day-to-day responsibilities.
The importance of robust authentication measures can’t be overstated. Although most security standards require organizations to prioritize authentication, it can become redundant if not consistently updated and upgraded. Be sure to verify the source of emails and other communications, even if they appear to have come from a reliable source.
Implement security compliance frameworks
Security risks and threats are always lingering, but they’re much less likely or damaging when you remove the target from your back.
Whether your most pressing concerns surround ChatGPT or other cybersecurity threats, the impact can be drastically minimized when organizations implement due diligence.
Security frameworks such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA or PCI DSS ensure that your organization meets the highest security standards in its relevant industries. By implementing the requirements and controls of each specific framework and ensuring consistent compliance with its rules and regulations, organizations can rest assured that they’re well prepared to identify, monitor, mitigate, and remediate security threats or data breaches and vulnerabilities.
Get (and stay) compliant with Scytale
Navigating a changing cybersecurity landscape can be easier said and done with compliance experts in your corner. Get compliant and stay compliant with certainty and ease, knowing that you’ve got the perfect cybersecurity scydekick to help you mitigate risk and guarantee end-to-end compliance.
Ready to level up your cybersecurity? It would be a lot cooler (and safer) if you did. Browse our list of compliance frameworks here.