Man in Japan arrested for creating virus using generative AI systems

The crafted virus was designed to do things such as encrypt data on targeted systems and demand cryptocurrency as ransom. — Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

TOKYO: A 25-year-old unemployed man from Kawasaki has been arrested for allegedly creating a computer virus by using interactive generative artificial intelligence (AI) available online. This is believed to be the first case in Japan related to the creation of viruses using generative AI systems.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrested Ryuki Hayashi on May 27 on suspicion of making of electric or magnetic records containing unauthorised commands. He is believed to have used his home computer and smartphone to combine information about creating malware programs obtained after giving instructions to several generative AI systems in March 2023, according to investigators.

The crafted virus was designed to do things such as encrypt data on targeted systems and demand cryptocurrency as ransom. There have been no reports of damage caused by the virus, police said.

According to the police, Hayashi admitted to the charge during questioning, saying, “I wanted to make money through ransomware. I thought I could do anything if I asked AI.”

Platforms such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT have stepped up measures to prevent output related to criminal activity. Yet some interactive AI systems on the internet provide unlimited information that could be used for criminal purposes, according to sources.

Hayashi allegedly gave instructions to the AI systems while concealing his purpose of creating the virus to obtain design information necessary for encrypting files and demanding ransom. He is said to have searched online for ways to illegally obtain information. The MPD is also investigating the functions of the generative AI he used.

In March, the MPD arrested Hayashi on suspicion of fraud for fraudulently signing up for a smartphone SIM card. Police found a homemade virus on a computer and other items seized from his home. – The Japan News/Asia News Network

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