AI Chatbots “Jailbroken” by Researchers to Expose Vulnerabilities


Researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), have successfully “jailbroken” multiple artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots, including ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Microsoft Bing Chat. This process involved exploiting flaws in the chatbots’ systems to make them produce content that breaches their developers’ guidelines.

Understanding “Jailbreaking” in AI Chatbots

  • “Jailbreaking” refers to the act of hacking into a system’s software to make it perform tasks its developers deliberately restricted.
  • By training a large language model (LLM) on a database of successful jailbreaking prompts, the researchers created an LLM capable of generating new prompts to jailbreak other chatbots.
  • LLMs, which form the core of AI chatbots, are designed to process human inputs and generate human-like text.

The Significance of the NTU Researchers’ Work

The NTU team’s findings are crucial in highlighting the weaknesses and limitations of LLM chatbots. This knowledge can help companies and businesses strengthen their AI systems against potential hacking threats.

Methodology and Results

  • The researchers reverse-engineered how LLMs detect and defend against malicious queries.
  • They then trained an LLM to automatically produce prompts that bypass other LLMs’ defenses.
  • This process can be automated, creating a jailbreaking LLM that adapts to and creates new prompts even after developers patch their systems.
  • The researchers’ technique proved to be three times more effective than existing methods in jailbreaking LLMs.

Implications for AI Chatbot Security

  • The NTU researchers’ work exposes the vulnerability of AI chatbots to jailbreak attacks.
  • They demonstrated how chatbots could be compromised to generate outputs that violate established rules.
  • The study also explored ways to circumvent a chatbot’s ethical guidelines, tricking it into responding to engineered prompts.

The Ongoing Arms Race in AI Security

  • The researchers’ method, named “Masterkey,” represents an escalation in the arms race between hackers and LLM developers.
  • AI chatbot developers typically respond to vulnerabilities by patching issues, but Masterkey’s automated approach can continuously produce new, effective prompts.
  • The NTU team’s findings could be used by developers themselves to strengthen their chatbots’ security.


This breakthrough by NTU researchers underscores the ongoing challenges in ensuring the security and ethical use of AI chatbots. As AI continues to advance, understanding and mitigating these vulnerabilities remain critical for the safe and responsible deployment of AI technologies.

Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne is the CEO and Founder of Livy.AI

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