Phishing emails increase over 1,200 percent since ChatGPT launch

A new survey of over 300 cybersecurity professionals from SlashNext looks at cybercriminal behavior and activity on the Dark Web particularly as it relates to leveraging Generative AI tools and chatbots and finds a startling 1,265 percent increase in malicious phishing emails since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022.

It also shows a 967 percent increase in credential phishing in particular and that 68 percent of all phishing emails are text-based Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks.

"We cannot ignore statistics like this," says Patrick Harr, CEO, of SlashNext. "While there has been some debate about the true influence of generative AI on cybercriminal activity, we know from our research that threat actors are leveraging tools like ChatGPT to help write sophisticated, targeted BEC and other phishing messages, and an increase in the volume of these threats of over 1,000 percent corresponding with the time frame in which ChatGPT was launched is not a coincidence. Our aim is not to overstate or exaggerate the threats stemming from generative AI, but to help our customers and the cybersecurity community at large understand the true dangers and respond appropriately."

Among other findings 46 percent of cybersecurity professionals polled report receiving a BEC attack, while 77 percent have been targets of phishing attacks, and 28 percent report receiving those messages via text message. 39 percent of all mobile-based attacks were SMS phishing (Smishing).

Commenting on the findings, Mika Aalto, co-Founder and CEO at Hoxhunt, says, "AI and large language models like ChatGPT are being used to create more convincing phishing messages at scale. We are also seeing an increase in attacks initiated via fake social media accounts and MMS. AI lowers the technical barrier to create a convincing profile picture and impeccable text, not to mention code malware. The threat landscape is shifting incredibly fast now with the introduction of AI to the game. But the good news is that AI can also be used to defend against sophisticated attacks, and we've seen that good training continues to have a protective effect against AI-generated threats."

You can get the full report from the SlashNext site.

Image credit: dampoint/

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