Navigating AI Chatbots: Best Practices and Precautions

Navigating AI Chatbots: Best Practices and Precautions | CyberPro Magazine

Understanding the Nature of AI Interactions

Engaging with AI chatbots, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, Anthropic’s Claude, or Perplexity AI, requires a thoughtful approach. Users should remember that these interactions are not entirely private. For instance, when seeking holiday suggestions, users might prompt ChatGPT with queries like, “What are great sunny locations in May with decent beaches and at least 25 degrees?” While these interactions seem harmless, being too specific can pose risks. Companies can use these details to train new models, making parts of one’s life potentially searchable.

Sharing personal financial information with these chatbots can be equally risky. Although there have been no confirmed incidents of personal details being exposed in searches, the potential exists. By using details about one’s location, industry, and lifestyle, some models might estimate a user’s net worth, making them a target for scams. A good rule of thumb is to only share information with AI chatbots that one would be comfortable posting on social media.

Adhering to Corporate AI Policies

As AI becomes integral in workplaces for tasks like coding or analysis, following company AI policies is crucial. Many companies, like the one mentioned in the example, have specific guidelines to prevent sensitive information from being shared with chatbots. Confidential items, such as employee salaries and financial performance, are not to be uploaded to any AI system. This precaution is to avoid scenarios where someone could ask, “What is Storyblok’s business strategy?” and get detailed, sensitive information in response.

This could lead to significant security issues. For coding tasks, some companies use tools like Microsoft’s Copilot but require human developers to review all AI-generated code before it is added to repositories. This policy ensures that AI does not introduce vulnerabilities or errors that could compromise the company’s software.

Exercise Caution with AI at Work

Despite the growing use of AI in the workplace, about 75% of companies lack an AI policy. Many employers simply prohibit the use of AI, leaving employees to use AI tools through personal accounts. This can lead to the unintentional sharing of sensitive company data. For instance, employees might upload company or client information into AI platforms for analysis, inadvertently breaching confidentiality.

This issue arises because there was previously no need to upload company data to external websites. However, with AI tools like ChatGPT, employees in finance or consulting might easily share sensitive data without realizing the implications. To avoid such risks, it is important to be cautious about what data is shared with AI chatbots, particularly in a professional context.

Choosing the Right AI Chatbots

Not all AI chatbots are created equal, and it is important to differentiate between them. Trusted platforms like OpenAI’s ChatGPT are backed by robust cybersecurity measures, ensuring that user data is protected. However, homegrown chatbots found on various websites, such as those of airlines or doctors, may not have the same level of security. For example, a medical chatbot might ask users for personal health information, which, if leaked, could lead to privacy breaches. As AI chatbots become more advanced and human-like, users might be tempted to share more personal information.

It is essential to approach these interactions with caution and avoid sharing highly specific details regardless of the platform. This careful approach helps mitigate the risk of data breaches and protects personal and sensitive information from potential misuse.