Security

This AI chatbot is either an exploiter’s dream or their nightmare

The online crypto community has discovered a new Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot that can either be used to warn developers of smart contracts vulnerabilities or teach hackers how to exploit them.

ChatGPT, a chatbot tool built by AI research company OpenAI, was released on Nov. 30 and was designed to interact “in a conversational way” with the ability to answer follow-up questions and even admit mistakes, according to the company.

However, some Twitter users have come to realize that the bot could potentially be used for both good and evil, as it can be prompted to reveal loopholes in smart contracts.

Stephen Tong, co-founder of smart contract auditing firm Zellic asked ChatGPT to help find an exploit, presenting a piece of smart contract code.

OMG WTF pic.twitter.com/I2hE0e5ppq

— cts (@gf_256) December 1, 2022

The bot responded by noting the contract had a reentrancy vulnerability where an exploiter could repeatedly withdraw the funds from the contract and provided an example of how to fix the issue.

This similar type of exploit was used in May by the attacker of the Decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Fei Protocol who made off with $80 million.

Others have shared results from the chatbot after prompting it with vulnerable smart contracts. Twitter user devtooligan shared a screenshot of ChatGPT, which provided the exact code needed to fix a Solidity smart contract vulnerability commenting “we’re all gonna be out of a job.”

omg. seriously mind-blown

we’re all gonna be out of a job pic.twitter.com/iwjjOTPDLY

— devtooligan (@devtooligan) December 1, 2022

With the tool, Twitter users have already begun to jest they’re able to now start businesses for security auditing simply by using the bot to test for weaknesses in smart contracts.

Excited to announce I’m raising for my new smart contract security consulting company.
It’s gonna be me just be throwing ChatGPT to fuzz your code. https://t.co/gSFyABd9M6

— eddie (⬅️,) (@0x_eddie) December 1, 2022

Cointelegraph tested ChatGPT and found it can also create an example smart contract from a prompt using simple language, generating code that could apparently provide staking rewards for Ethereum-based nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

ChatGPT’s example Solidity smart contract for NFT staking rewards from a simple prompt. Image: Cointelegraph.

Despite the chatbot’s ability to test smart contract functionality, it wasn’t solely designed for that purpose and many on Twitter have suggested some of the smart contracts it generates have issues.

The tool also might provide different responses depending on the way it’s prompted, so it isn’t perfect.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman tweeted that the tool was “an early demo” and is “very much a research release.”

He opined that “language interfaces are going to be a big deal” and tools such as ChatGPT will “soon” have the ability to answer questions and give advice with later iterations completing tasks or even discovering new knowledge.

   

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