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Attacks carried out on chatbots
Friday, March 24, 2023
Today, chatbots are an effective tool for businesses to communicate with their customers. Unfortunately, their simplicity and convenience attract not only honest users but also cybercriminals. So, bots that are used to actively interact with a large audience are at risk and can become targets for hacker attacks.
Hackers create fake chatbots that seem genuine and use them to commit fraud. They can send phishing links or request confidential information from users, pretending to be official representatives of a bank, company, etc.
After hacking a legitimate chatbot that collects funds legally, attackers can arrange for user payments to be accepted to a fake account. At the same time, the service interface will not change in any way; it’s just the details that will change, and all the money will go to the scammers.
Hackers may try to overload a chatbot's buffer by entering large amounts of text or code to temporarily disable it or even paralyse it completely.
Criminals can use SQL injections to access the database used by a chatbot and steal confidential information: personal user data or payment data.
To gain unauthorised access to a user's account, attackers can try to intercept and steal the authentication tokens used to log in to a chatbot.
Cybercriminals can send specially created scripts that run inside a chatbot and perform various tasks, such as gaining access to confidential data or spreading viruses.
Hackers can implement DNS attacks to redirect traffic from a chatbot to their server, where they can intercept and collect information about users.
Intercepted HTTPS connection
To steal information that is transmitted between a chatbot and a user (logins, passwords and other confidential data), attackers can use techniques for intercepting HTTPS connections.
If a channel has access to an audience that trusts it, it's a tempting morsel for hackers. After taking possession of such a channel, attackers can, for example, on behalf of a brand or a reputable blogger, send emails containing appeals to transfer money for “good” purposes.
The Anti-virus Times recommends
Owners of chatbots should be careful and take the measures necessary to protect their systems and users:
- Regularly check for updates for all the programs and plugins that you use, including the platform used to create your chatbot. Often, updates include patches for security vulnerabilities.
- Use SSL encryption to protect transmitted information. This shields you from eavesdropping and data spoofing.
- Only grant authorised users or specific IP addresses access to your bot.
- Use authentication for users to prevent unauthorised access.
- Keep API keys and passwords in a safe place and don't give them to anyone. Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
- Regularly check logs to identify suspicious activity and take measures to prevent it.
Doctor Web's specialists also advise chatbot users to stay vigilant:
- Never provide a chatbot with sensitive information such as passwords, social security numbers, or financial data.
- When downloading a chatbot, check the source: the developer of the program must be a well-known and trusted company.
- Do not follow links that may look suspicious or that can be sent from unfamiliar users.
- If possible, protect your account with a password to prevent unauthorised access to it.
- Consider using two-factor authentication, which requires additional code when logging in to your account.
- Periodically check your accounts and transactions to quickly detect any suspicious activity.
- Regularly update the software to eliminate vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers.
- Never send money via a chatbot unless you are completely sure of its authenticity and reliability.