In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, businesses are increasingly embracing AI-powered chatbots such as ChatGPT to streamline operations and improve customer interactions. However, while these AI-driven assistants offer many advantages, they also bring forth a set of insider risks that companies must address to protect sensitive data and maintain confidentiality. In this article, we'll explore the potential insider threats associated with using ChatGPT and discuss strategies to mitigate these risks effectively.

Insider Risks of Using ChatGPT

1. Data Leakage:

Data leakage is a significant concern when employees use ChatGPT. It involves the unintentional or deliberate sharing of sensitive company information. To address this risk:

  • Data Classification: Start by classifying your data into categories such as public, internal, confidential, and restricted. Ensure that employees are aware of these classifications and understand which information should not be shared.
  • Access Controls: Implement stringent access controls to restrict who can access sensitive data. Only authorised personnel should have the ability to share specific types of information.
  • Encryption: Encrypt sensitive data both in transit and at rest. This adds an additional layer of protection to prevent unauthorised access even if data leakage occurs.

2. Misuse of Information:

The misuse of information gleaned from ChatGPT conversations can lead to various problems. To mitigate this risk:

  • Ethical Guidelines: Establish clear ethical guidelines for the use of information obtained from AI chatbots. Encourage employees to use insights responsibly and ethically in their roles.
  • Monitoring Usage: Keep an eye on how employees are utilising information from chatbot interactions. Implement auditing mechanisms to track actions taken based on AI-generated data.

3. Phishing and Social Engineering:

Insiders may use ChatGPT to engage in phishing or social engineering tactics. To counter these threats:

  • User Verification: Develop procedures for verifying the identity of individuals making requests for sensitive information. Encourage employees to cross-verify any unusual requests they receive.
  • Phishing Awareness Training: Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees about phishing and social engineering techniques. Make them aware of the risks associated with sharing sensitive data through chatbots.

4. Inappropriate Behavior:

Inappropriate behavior within AI chatbot interactions can lead to HR issues and legal consequences. To address this risk:

  • Code of Conduct: Establish a clear code of conduct for AI chatbot interactions. Ensure that employees understand the expectations for respectful and professional communication.
  • Reporting Mechanisms: Implement a confidential reporting system where employees can report inappropriate behavior without fear of retaliation. Promptly investigate and address any reported incidents.

5. Data Exfiltration:

Malicious insiders can exploit chatbots for data exfiltration. To prevent this:

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Tools: Employ DLP tools that can monitor and prevent the unauthorised transfer of sensitive data. These tools can detect unusual patterns and block data exfiltration attempts.
  • Behavior Analytics: Use behavior analytics to identify unusual or suspicious user behavior, such as sudden spikes in data transfer or access to restricted information.

6. OpenAI Access to Data

It's important to note that all conversations with ChatGPT are stored on OpenAI's servers, and OpenAI employees can selectively review chats for safety. This means that users cannot assume absolute privacy or confidentiality when using the service. While OpenAI’s position is that it takes privacy and data security seriously, any users should exercise caution when discussing sensitive or confidential information with AI chatbots.

Safeguarding Against Insider Risks

To safeguard against these insider risks associated with the use of ChatGPT, organisations can take several proactive measures:

1. Data Governance Policies:

Implement robust data governance policies to define how data is classified, protected, and shared within the organisation. Clearly articulate guidelines for handling sensitive information in AI chatbot conversations.

2. Employee Training:

Conduct regular employee training on AI ethics and security. Ensure that employees understand the potential risks and responsibilities associated with using AI chatbots responsibly.

3. Monitoring and Detection:

Utilise digital forensics and a proactive insider risk management platform, such as ShadowSight, to identify suspicious behavior. Monitor chatbot usage patterns for anomalies and implement alerts for potential data breaches.

4. Access Controls and Encryption:

Implement strong access controls to restrict access to AI chatbot systems. Employ encryption measures to protect sensitive data from unauthorised access or disclosure.

5. Privacy Awareness:

Educate employees about the fact that their conversations with AI chatbots are not always private or confidential. Make them aware that OpenAI employees can selectively review chats for safety purposes.

In Summary

While AI chatbots such as ChatGPT offer tremendous potential for businesses, they also introduce insider risks that need careful consideration. By implementing robust data governance policies, providing employee training, monitoring usage, and being aware of privacy implications, organisations can harness the benefits of AI chatbots while mitigating potential risks effectively. Remember that data security and privacy are ongoing concerns, and staying vigilant is key to safeguarding your business in the digital age.

Christopher McNaughton

Strategic Advisor, ShadowSight

Who is Christopher McNaughton

Chris is a proficient problem solver with a strategic aptitude for anticipating and addressing potential business issues, particularly in areas such as Insider Threat, Data Governance, Digital Forensics, Workplace Investigations, and Cyber Security. He thrives on turning intricate challenges into opportunities for increased efficiency, offering pragmatic solutions derived from a practical and realistic approach.

Starting his career as a law enforcement Detective, Chris transitioned to multinational organisations where he specialised and excelled in Cyber Security, proving his authority in the field. Even under demanding circumstances, his commitment to delivering exceptional results remains unwavering, underpinned by his extraordinary ability to understand both cyber and business problems swiftly, along with a deep emphasis on active listening.

What is ShadowSight

ShadowSight is an innovative insider risk staff monitoring tool that proactively guards your business against internal threats and safeguards vital data from unauthorised access and malicious activities. We offer a seamless integration with your current systems, boosting regulatory compliance while providing unparalleled visibility into non-compliant activities to reinforce a secure digital environment. By prioritising actionable intelligence, ShadowSight not only mitigates insider threats but also fosters a culture of proactive risk management, significantly simplifying your compliance process without the overwhelming burden of false positives.