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article imageAI chatbot used to combat phishing by wasting scammers' time

By James Walker     Nov 13, 2017 in Internet
A team of cybersecurity researchers has developed an AI chatbot that aims to waste scammers' time by responding to phishing emails. You can forward scam emails to the bot. A proxy email address will then start automatically replying the scammer for you.
However effective your spam filter, you probably still end up with a few fake emails in your inbox from time to time. Instead of hitting delete immediately, New Zealand cybersecurity firm Netsafe will let you forward them to They'll be read by the Rescam AI bot which will then start generating automatic replies.
Rescam will engage in deliberate back-and-forth conversation with the scammers. The aim of the tool is purely to waste scammers' time. Every minute they spend replying to a bot is time they can't use phishing real details from vulnerable web users. Rescam is capable of accurately identifying the content of messages so it can send convincing responses to different scam campaigns.
The concept of intentionally relying to scammers isn't anything new. However, Rescam is the first tool to let you inconvenience scammers without doing any work yourself. Forwarding the message is enough to start off a potentially hilarious string of automatically generated messages. It's a system that regular web users could use to help thwart scammers, without demanding any technical experience.
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"Every year billions of dollars are being lost to scammers preying on trusting people. While the crimes are borderless, law enforcement isn't, so locating and prosecuting scammers is very difficult," Netsafe explains on the Rescam website. "Scammers are always adapting their techniques, so we are too. As well as damaging the profits for scammers, Re:scam is helping us to collect and analyse useful data about scams."
Rescam is capable of automatically detecting whether an email is a scam so it won't reply to anything you accidentally forward to the bot. It can develop its vocabulary and learn to respond to new scams as more people engage with it. Data about the scammers is stored in the bot's database, gradually creating information on scam activity and helping law enforcement identify the culprits.
To get started with Rescam, email a spam email to the bot's dedicated email address. By default, you'll receive alerts each time Rescam engages with the scammer. To opt out, you can click the "Unsubscribe" button in the emails. If you continue to send more scam messages to Rescam, it will still reply to the scammer but won't notify you of any replies. Your own email address is never used for communications, a measure Netsafe said is "unlikely" to be noticed by the scammers who first sent it to you.
More about Artificial intelligence, machine learning, Email, Scam, Ai
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