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January 11, 2024
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4
 min read

Does ChatGPT Save Your Data?

Yes, ChatGPT saves your data. Read this article to learn more about how ChatGPT processes your data and ways to secure it.

Does ChatGPT Save Your Data?
Calendar Icon White
January 11, 2024
Clock Icon
4
 min read

Does ChatGPT Save Your Data?

Yes, ChatGPT saves your data. Read this article to learn more about how ChatGPT processes your data and ways to secure it.

TL;DR

  • ChatGPT saves user data, including account-level information and conversation history, to improve the AI model. 
  • Despite OpenAI's security measures, challenges like data retention policies, data usage in AI training, and vulnerability to breaches persist. 
  • ChatGPT stores two main types of data: Automatically received and user-provided.
  • Strac's ChatGPT DLP discovers (scans), classifies, and remediates sensitive information in every ChatGPT interaction. 

OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a powerful language model, is driving innovation across industries with its remarkable text generation and natural conversation capabilities. Alongside its meteoric rise, legitimate concerns regarding ChatGPT's data handling practices have also emerged.

One such vulnerability surfaced in May 2023 when OpenAI reported a data breach in ChatGPT. The incident raises a critical question - can you trust ChatGPT with your sensitive data? This article aims to answer just that and show you how to fully use this technology without compromising security. 

What Type of Data is Fed to ChatGPT by Employees?

ChatGPT collects and stores two types of data: 

1. Automatically received information

This category encompasses data that ChatGPT collects automatically during your interaction with the AI:

  • Device data: includes details about your device, such as the make and model and the operating system.
  • Usage data: This covers your location when using ChatGPT, the specific version of the tool you are interacting with, and the time of your usage.
  • Log data: The AI also saves technical data like your IP address and the browser type you are using to access the service.

2. User-provided data

In addition to the data received automatically, ChatGPT also saves the data you actively provide. Here’s what it includes:

  • Account information: If you have a registered account, ChatGPT stores your personal info, such as your name, email address, and other contact information.
  • User content: This includes the text of the prompts, questions, and queries you input into ChatGPT, along with any files you might upload during your interaction. It can also include more complex data types that users might inadvertently share, such as:
  • PII (Personally Identifiable Information): Information used to identify an individual, like social security numbers or home addresses.
  • Source code: Pieces of code that users might input for queries related to programming or software development.
  • Email Drafts with sensitive customer data: Text from email drafts containing confidential business information.
  • Other Sensitive Data: Any additional confidential information a user might input into ChatGPT, such as images, financial information, legal documents, trade secrets, etc.
  • Chat history: ChatGPT also retains your chat history to enhance its language model and generate more accurate and contextually relevant responses. 

What are the Risks Associated With Data Storage in ChatGPT?

Recent findings show that 75% of cybersecurity professionals have noted a significant rise in cyber-attacks over the past year. Notably, 85% of these experts believe this escalation is primarily due to generative AI technologies like ChatGPT. Here are a few risks associated with ChatGPT storing your sensitive data. 

  • Potential for AI data leaks and breaches: Sensitive personal or business information stored by ChatGPT can become a target for cybercriminals, leading to privacy violations and financial losses.
  • Compliance and legal risks: For businesses, using ChatGPT involves compliance risks, especially regarding data protection laws like GDPR and CCPA.
  • Accidental sharing of confidential data: 49% of companies presently use ChatGPT, 93% of whom say they plan to expand their chatbot use. The risk of inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information grows as adoption increases.
  • Overreliance and data dependency: An overreliance on ChatGPT for data processing can create a dependency, increasing the risk of data manipulation or corruption and posing challenges in data management.
  • Ethical concerns: The ethical implications of storing and using large volumes of data by AI systems like ChatGPT are also significant, raising questions about consent, data ownership, and privacy rights.

What Makes Data Vulnerable Despite ChatGPT's Security Measures?

Despite OpenAI's robust security measures, such as end-to-end encryption, stringent access controls, and incentives for ethical hackers through a Bug Bounty program, data insecurity remains a pertinent issue. This is due to several inherent challenges in the way ChatGPT handles data.

ChatGPT Security Loop holes

1. Data retention policies

OpenAI allows users to delete chat history, yet it retains new conversations for 30 days for monitoring purposes. This retention period poses a risk, as the stored data becomes vulnerable to attacks.

2. Data usage to train AI

ChatGPT, a machine learning model, learns from the data it processes. While OpenAI asserts it doesn’t use end-user data for model training by default, there's always a risk associated with accidentally or intentionally uploading sensitive data onto the platform.

3. Vulnerability to data breaches

No system is immune to data breaches, and ChatGPT, despite its security protocols, is not an exception to this risk. Instances of compromised ChatGPT account credentials circulating on the Dark Web underscore the potential for unauthorized access to the sensitive data that ChatGPT holds.

4. Third-party data sharing

There are concerns about ChatGPT potentially sharing user data with third parties for business operations without explicit user consent. This possibility of data sharing with unspecified parties adds another layer of risk regarding user privacy and data security.

The Role of DLP in Securing Data from ChatGPT

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools protect sensitive data from vulnerabilities like cyber attacks, ransomware, data breaches, etc. DLP solutions often incorporate advanced machine learning algorithms to enforce data handling policies effectively. They allow you to maintain a robust security posture by blocking attempts to email sensitive materials, encrypting files from specific applications upon access requests, and implementing other preventive actions aligned with a company's policies.

Strac's DLP solution offers a user-friendly browser extension (Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox) that proactively safeguards sensitive information in every ChatGPT interaction. Let's explore its features and the step-by-step implementation process.

Schedule your free 30-minute demo to learn more.
  • Immediate risk alerts: Strac's system quickly identifies potential threats within ChatGPT interactions, allowing for timely responses to security concerns.
  • Automated sensitivity analysis: The DLP solution employs AI technology to monitor ChatGPT content, flagging sensitive data sharing constantly.
  • Real-time remediation of sensitive data: Strac instantly masks sensitive parts of the messages sent to ChatGPT to maintain user privacy and data integrity.
  • Configurable security settings: Strac allows businesses to tailor data sensitivity rules for ChatGPT interactions, meeting diverse organizational needs.
  • Compliance assurance: The solution ensures that interactions with ChatGPT comply with privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA.

Now, let's see how Strac's ChatGPT DLP functions:

  1. Your IT team implements Strac's Chrome extension to detect and block sensitive data from being sent to sites like ChatGPT during web browsing.
  2. Strac supports over 100 data elements, including financial and personal info. You can also configure it to block sensitive data per organizational policies.
  3. When a user attempts to submit sensitive data, the Strac browser extension will trigger a pop-up alert and remediate sensitive PII.

The Strac Chrome extension isn't limited to ChatGPT; it seamlessly integrates with any website, showcasing its versatile application for data protection. Its wide-ranging utility is crucial for organizations handling sensitive data, providing a comprehensive approach to data security.

Founding Engineer. 9 years at Amazon and AWS.

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