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Four arrests in China over ChatGPT-assisted ransomware as AI-related cybersecurity issues escalate

Alright, chums, pull up a chair and lend me your ears. I have quite a tale to spin for you today. This isn’t your usual yarn about villains in darkened cellars or masked highwaymen. No, the villains in this story, they’re a whole different type of bad egg. They’re computer wizards, skilled in the dark arts of the digital world. Not your run-of-the-mill scam artists, no sir. These were four crackerjack cyber attackers right out of China. Now this is the first time we’ve ever heard of this kind of thing in those parts, so it naturally caught me attention.

Are you familiar with the chatbot, ChatGPT? Now, I’m not talking about your friendly little chatbots, such as the ones that help you with your online shopping or banking. ChatGPT is in a different league altogether. Here was these cyber attackers using a chatbot, which isn’t even officially available locally, to concoct their swindles.

Our tale starts in Hangzhou, the capital of eastern Zhejiang province. A company there reported that its systems were completely blocked by ransomware. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. The rascals demanded 20,000 Tether, a type of cryptocurrency pegged one-to-one to the US dollar, to restore access.

Imagine the audacity of it! It’s like putting a padlock on someone else’s front door and then demanding they pay you to get the key!

Anyway, they weren’t pulling this off themselves. They had assistance the king of chatbots, ChatGPT, to help them write and optimise their ransomware. They also used the chattiness of the bot to identify vulnerabilities and gain access by infiltration.

Now, these rascals were not content with just developing this nasty ransomware. Oh no, they took it a step further. They went right ahead and injected the ransomware into the system, effectively locking the doors, you can say, and then went right ahead and extorted their victims.

But, thank heavens, it’s not all doom and gloom. Thanks to the persistent efforts of the local authorities in China, they nipped this in the bud. Arrests were made in late November, rounding up two suspects in Beijing and another two in Inner Mongolia. The suspects admitted to their wrongdoings, putting an end to their nasty little operation.

So, there you have it, my friends, a tale of digital villains, cyberjudases if you will, who thought they could get away with grand larceny in the digital world, only to be caught by the relentless pursuit of justice. Whew, what a world we live in, eh? Now, let’s all keep our eyes peeled and our wits about us, because it turns out, bandits don’t just roam the highways anymore, they’re lurking in the shadowy corners of the web as well. All the more reason for us to stay vigilant and keep our digital homes safe and secure.

by Parker Bytes

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