A Great Use For Artificial Intelligence: Scamming Scammers By Wasting Their Time | Spanlish


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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Great Use For Artificial Intelligence: Scamming Scammers By Wasting Their Time

As artificial intelligence (AI) finally begins to deliver on the field's broken promises of the last forty years, there's been some high-profile hand-wringing about the risks, from the likes of Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, among others. It's always wise to be cautious, but surely even AI's fiercest critics would find it hard not to like the following small-scale application of the technology to tackle the problem of phishing scams. Instead of simply deleting the phishing email, you forward it to a new service called Re:Scam, and the AI takes over. The aim is to waste the time of scammers by engaging them with AI chatbots, so as to reduce the volume of phishing emails that they can send and follow up:

When you forward an email, you believe to be a scam to me@rescam.org a check is done to make sure it is a scam attempt, and then a proxy email address is used to engage the scammer. This will flood their inboxes with responses without any way for them to tell who is a chat-bot, and who is a real vulnerable target. Once you've forwarded an email nothing more is required on your part, but the more you send through, the more effective it will be.

Here's how the AI is applied:

Re:scam can take on multiple personas, imitating real human tendencies with humour and grammatical errors, and can engage with infinite scammers at once, meaning it can continue an email conversation for as long as possible. Re:scam will turn the table on scammers by wasting their time, and ultimately damage the profits for scammers.

When you send emails to Re:Scam, it not only ties up the scammers in fruitless conversations, it also helps to train the underlying AI system. The service doesn't require any sign-up -- you just forward the phishing email to me@rescam.org -- and there's no charge. Re:Scam comes from Netsafe, a well-established non-profit online safety organization based in New Zealand, which is supported by government bodies there. It's a nice idea, and it would be interesting to see it applied in other situations. That way we could enjoy the benefits of AI for a while, before it decides to kill us all.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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