(ReliableNews.org) – Cyberattacks occur when hackers illegally gain access to a system in order to cause harm or perpetrate a crime. The deed can involve a phishing scheme, ransomware threats, and malware installations, and can affect everything from personal computers and business intranets to military networks and government services. Basically, any electronics, big and small, are subject to digital attack, and with the majority of the world operating online, the vulnerability factor is at an all-time high. Now that artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more accessible with programs like ChatGPT, hackers’ activities could significantly increase and get a whole lot easier.
AI and Hacking
Typically, hackers of the past would have to come up with their own ways to gain access to a system and to develop programs to download to do harm. However, some AI has the capability to do the thinking for humans. Chat GPT, for example, is a software that uses data to mimic human thought. Given the right access to information, the program can write songs, scripts, social media posts, and even code using computer language. Plus, Chat GPT is a conversational tool, meaning it’s built to mimic the way humans speak to one another.
Given that feature, hackers could use it to write convincing emails and other communications to trick victims into falling for internet scams. Right now, it can be pretty easy to tell when spam hits your inbox. With AI abilities becoming more human-like, it might not be that way for long.
In addition to phishing scams aimed at identity and financial theft, other areas are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks. According to WGU, small businesses, healthcare, governmental agencies, banks, education systems, and energy companies are the most vulnerable targets.
One potentially catastrophic example happened in 2021. Hackers attacked the Colonial Pipeline Company, hitting it with ransomware. The organization had to shut down and restart its entire pipeline system to resolve the issue. Although officials took care of the problem quickly, the fact that the cyberattack happened at an energy company was concerning and could have had devastating and widespread effects.
How to Stay Safe
A few ways to protect yourself from attacks online include using a VPN to encrypt your data, using an antimalware program, being cautious about the sites you visit, not trusting unsolicited emails, and avoiding clicking on links from unknown sources. It’s also a good idea to only download apps after thoroughly investigating them and make sure to use unique passwords across your accounts — no repeats. One more tip is to never save your sign-ins on your computer. If a hacker gains access to your system, they now have everything they need to cause harm.
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