Europol’s 14-page Tech Watch Flash report titled ‘ChatGPT – the impact of Large Language Models on Law Enforcement’ is intended to raise awareness of the potential for AI/ML technology to be abused for criminal purposes.
The report is the result of a series of workshops organized by Europol’s Innovation Lab with subject matter experts from across its organization. The goal was to explore how criminals can exploit large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT, as well as how such models may assist investigators in their daily work.
A large language model is a type of AI system that can process, manipulate, and generate text. ChatGPT is an LLM developed by OpenAI released in November 2022. The current publicly accessible model can answer questions on a variety of topics, translate text, engage in conversational exchanges (‘chatting’), generate new content, and produce functional code
Europol sees three areas of concern:
- Fraud and social engineering: ChatGPT’s ability to draft highly realistic text makes it a useful tool for phishing purposes. The ability of LLMs to re-produce language patterns can be used to impersonate the style of speech of specific individuals or groups. This capability can be abused at scale to mislead potential victims into placing their trust in the hands of criminal actors.
- Disinformation: ChatGPT excels at producing authentic sounding text at speed and scale. This makes the model ideal for propaganda and disinformation purposes, as it allows users to generate and spread messages reflecting a specific narrative with relatively little effort.
- Cybercrime: In addition to generating human-like language, ChatGPT is capable of producing code in a number of different programming languages. For a potential criminal with little technical knowledge, this is an invaluable resource to produce malicious code.
ChatGPT – The Impact of Large Language Models on Law Enforcement. Report. March 27, 2023. Europol
Why it matters
Europol’s position is that as technology progresses, and new models become available, it will become increasingly important for law enforcement to stay at the forefront of these developments to anticipate and prevent abuse.