Microsoft, OpenAI report identifies hacker groups using AI

Microsoft (MSFT) and OpenAI — which Microsoft owns a 49% stake in — have identified hacker groups from several countries that are using artificial intelligence models in their cyberattacks, drawing on colossal amounts of text to generate human-like responses. In a report released by Microsoft, the hackers came from China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, among others.

Yahoo Finance Tech Editor Dan Howley joins the Live show to break down the report.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Editor's note: This article was written by Nicholas Jacobino

Video Transcript

JOSH LIPTON: Microsoft and OpenAI identifying groups using artificial intelligence in conjunction with their hacking efforts. For more on how the tech giant is navigating cyber threats in the era of AI, let's get to our very own Dan Howley. Dan.


DAN HOWLEY: That's right, Microsoft, OpenAI, basically saying that there are groups that are using different forms of large language models and AI, even ChatGPT, to help them kind of hack into enemy nations, the nations that they see as enemies, as well as other groups, NGOs, organizations, Microsoft, probably.

And so, some of the ways in which they're doing this is by using these chat bots, again, ChatGPT being one of them, to look up things like satellite capabilities, radar technologies, reconnaissance information, ways of scripting tasks, improving social engineering for phishing and spear phishing emails.

And you can see here we have China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, those are the countries that were named in this report. And they have different groups with fun little names like Charcoal Typhoon and Salmon Typhoon. And I think one is Emerald Sheet, that's out of North Korea. So the names sound really cool. But I think it's interesting to point out that we constantly talk about how AI is going to help when it comes to things like business practices or even some consumer applications. But any time there's new technology, hackers are obviously going to look at it as well. And so, that's what's happening here.

And regardless of how much we see an advance of technology in the positive for companies that are defending themselves, cybersecurity specialists, the attackers are always going to be one step ahead. That's just the nature of this game. And so, it's the same way here. There's potential that maybe I can help level that playing field a little bit, but in all likelihood, hackers are going to figure out a way to get around that and continue to stay ahead.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah, so that's one of the negatives of AI. And this headline caught my attention too. SEC Gary Gensler was saying that investors should be aware of AI washing because we've seen a lot of activity in those stocks that even mentioned AI on their earnings calls. I wanted to get your take on that because I know you cover the space closely. Obviously, AI seems to be the buzzword right now. What do you make of the SEC now saying, look, you got to be careful?

DAN HOWLEY: I mean, look, it's real, right? I mean, you could talk to-- I mean, I got COVID, so I couldn't go to CES. But our own Akiko Fujita did. And she was saying that everything there was basically AI, right? It's the gluten-free now of the tech world, where you would just slap it on. I don't know what vodka has gluten in it, but apparently Tito's has to tell you that it's gluten-free. And so, regardless, it's the same idea, right? You're slapping a name on something so that people go, oh, that's got AI on it, I might as well jump on board. And so you're going to see companies do that. We saw that with the Metaverse, we saw it with NFTs. Any company that even thinks about dabbling into it is going to call that out.

And, I mean, obviously, the Metaverse is somewhere at this point. I just did a piece on how Epic is basically eating Meta's lunch when it comes to getting the Metaverse going. But NFTs, that's really not around, is it? So. I mean, obviously, AI has far more practical implications than a script saying that I own a digital version of a cat eating a hot dog that you can also copy and gives me absolutely nothing but empties my bank account. But I do think that it's going to be one of those things where you continue to see AI just labeled on anything to get attention.


ALEXANDRA CANAL: The AI bubble not bursting anytime soon. So, Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley, thank you so much for those insights.