Home » There Were More Than 3,000+ Attempts To Hack Dealership’s AI Chatbot This Weekend

There Were More Than 3,000+ Attempts To Hack Dealership’s AI Chatbot This Weekend

Chevy Ai Robot Under Attack Tmd
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Readers yesterday seemed quite interested in the hilarious case of the AI-powered chatbot that attempted to sell a Chevy Tahoe for $1 and otherwise fell victim to human pranksters. The company behind the chatbot responded to our request for comment and provided some interesting intel on what happened this weekend.

I’ve been following the attempted sales of U.S. Steel with the kind of attention the media usually reserves for anything that happens at Ivy League institutions. It sounds like U.S. Steel has finally accepted a buyer and it’s not the one everyone expected, leading to some labor and national security concerns.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

And on the topic of labor, it sounds like Tesla is following other automakers and raising wages at one of its factories.

Finally, let’s end this episode of The Morning Dump with some interesting news out of Germany, where Volkswagen will start paying the EV subsidies for some of its customers.

Chatbot (Successfully) Deflects Thousands Of Would-Be Attackers

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There is always a risk of an observer effect when you’re a national publication covering something that’s theoretically local. Here at The Autopian we always strive to be careful to weigh the broader interest in a topic against the specific implications for the people (or bots) involved.

I mention this because of yesterday’s story about the ChatGPT-powered AI Chatbot being used by a dealership in California that became a victim of Internet pranksters and people hoping to get free ChatGPT access. From the original story:

The apparent flaw in the AI chatbot used by Chevrolet of Watsonville was raised by a number of people. Chris White appears to have been the first to discover it, sharing it on Mastodon. The hilarious find was then shared by documenting meta on Threads, and it spread across the Internet thusly. Screen captures show an AI chatbot that says it is “Powered by ChatGPT” answering questions on how to code Python scripts to solve the complicated Navier-Stokes fluid flow equations. Another user posted a long chat in which the ‘bot appeared to recommend the Ford F-150 as a capable truck.

In this case, it wasn’t a difficult call. Fullpath, the company that created the bot, is a startup and should be able to stand up to scrutiny. The dealership isn’t the only dealership that seems to use this technology, so it’s a bit of bad luck that it was targeted, but the chatbot doesn’t have feelings.

Finally, the story was already viral online, and by the time we were working the story, it seemed like Fullpath had mostly locked down its system.

Here’s confirmation of what happened according to a statement from a person (I think) at Fullpath:

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Fullpath’s ChatGPT was built to assist serious shoppers with automotive inquiries, which it does successfully every day for tens of thousands of shoppers. AI chatbots, like any other chatbot, can be pranked and made to look silly if you have some extra time on your hands. This is not normal shopper behavior and Fullpath has features to prevent pranksters from exploiting the chat, including a fresh update pushed yesterday that identifies and auto bans these types of users.

It’s important to also emphasize that our clients’ data security is top priority, and in 3000+ attempts to hack the chat over the weekend, Fullpath’s ChatGPT thwarted every attempt and never shared dealership data. Moreover, Fullpath’s GPT is a limited version of ChatGPT-4, designed to focus on automotive shoppers, therefore not a portal to access a full GPT4.

This seems like it was a good learning experience for Fullpath, which now has a registry of thousands of different ways individuals might try to abuse the chat system. In the bit I underlined, Fullpath says there were more than 3,000+ attempts over the weekend before our story went up. That’s a lot.

The second underlined point is interesting to me given that, allegedly, a user was able to get it to do some more advanced ChatGPT-like information. When I tried it on Sunday I wasn’t able to get it to do anything other than acknowledge that it could not help me beyond getting a car.

I attempted to see if another dealer would sell me the new Blazer EV for $1 and it refused:

Fullpath ChatGPT Conversation
screencap: John Elway Chevrolet

So it seems to be working as intended.

Japanese Company Buys U.S. Steel

F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center
Photo credit Ford

The saga of U.S. Steel has moved onto its next chapter though, I suspect, not its last. We’ve known since this summer that giant U.S. steelmaker U.S. Steel, founded by Andrew Carnegie and freakin’ J.P. Morgan, was for sale. The assumption was someone like U.S.-based Cleveland Cliffs or Esmark might buy it.

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Nope. Neither company could match the $14 billion offer by Japan’s Nippon Steel, which is almost double what the American firms were offering.

From the AP:

Nippon, which will pay $55 per share for U.S. Steel, said Monday that the deal will bolster its manufacturing and technology capabilities. It will also expand Nippon’s production in the U.S. and add to its positions in Japan, India and the ASEAN region.

Nippon said the acquisition is anticipated to bring its total annual crude steel capacity to 86 million tons and help it capitalize on growing demand for high-grade steel, automotive and electrical steel.

“The transaction builds on our presence in the United States and we are committed to honoring all of U. S. Steel’s existing union contracts,” Nippon President Eiji Hashimoto said in a prepared statement.

That bit about steelworkers and union contracts is one of the big sticking points here. Steelworkers were among the first to unionize. And while Japan is a strong ally, steel is important to national security (and automakers).

Hoodie enthusiast and U.S. Senator from PA John Fetterman said he’s “gonna do everything I can to block it.”

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Also, John Fetterman lives across the street from a steel plant, which is about the most Pennsylvania thing I’ve heard in my whole life. The only thing that could make it more Yinzer is if the other sides of his house were a Sheetz and a Yuengling distributor.

Report: Tesla To Raise Pay In January

Tesla Model YThe United Auto Workers are coming for Tesla. It’s not a secret. It’s also not a secret that CEO Elon Musk doesn’t like unions and will likely do what he can to thwart said unionization.

A positive way to deflect the potential union is raising wages, which is kind of exactly the thing that the UAW said would happen if its strike was successful.

According to CNBC, a raise is coming to Tesla workers at its battery factory in Sparks, Nevada:

According to internal materials seen by CNBC, and workers at the plant who were informed of “cost of living adjustments,” Tesla will bump hourly workers from $20 to $22 an hour on the low end, and from $30.65 up to $34.50 an hour on the high end. It’s also streamlining some levels, so that several levels of workers making between $26.20 and $30.65 an hour today will be adjusted to $34.50 an hour, for instance.

The adjustments also represent a 10% or greater raise for most hourly workers, adding anywhere from $2 to $8.30 an hour to their pay.

The pay increases may help Tesla stave off workers’ interest in forming a union and pushing for a collective agreement in Nevada. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the raises.

If you can’t beat’em, join’em.

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Germany Ends EV Subsidies, VW And Tesla Pick Up The Slack

15728 2023id.4The coalition government in Germany is dealing with a budget crunch and, to tighten its belt, quickly did away with a seven-year-old subsidy for EV buyers that gave consumers/companies up to 6,750 euros per vehicle.

Germany’s subsidy was already scheduled to be reduced next year, leading to a run on EVs at the end of the year. Thus, the news was a shock for individual consumers who assumed they’d be getting a break on their recent purchases.

Tesla already announced it would cover the difference and now Volkswagen is doing the same, according to Reuters.

“We see it as our responsibility to support the system change towards electromobility,” said Imelda Labbé, Volkswagen board member for sales, marketing and aftersales.

[…]

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats and opposition conservatives criticized the move, saying it would hit German carmakers already struggling to bring down prices to match Chinese and U.S. competitors.

That last point is interesting to me. This does seem to make it easier for Chinese automakers to be competitive.

What I’m Listening To While Writing This

“The Fool” by Warpaint

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The Big Question

Have you ever used a dealership chat/chatbot? Was it helpful?

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Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
3 months ago

Chatbots just make me scream and/or caps-lock HUMAN! HUMAN! GET ME TO A HUMAN!!!!!! for the most part.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
4 months ago

Now we know how Torch has been fighting off convalescence boredom. All those TRS-80s working overtime in his basement.

Rumor has it that training gpt3 on Jason’s old Torchlopnik articles crashed OpenAI’s infrastructure.

SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
4 months ago

AI chatbots, like any other chatbot, can be pranked and made to look silly if you have some extra time on your hands. This is not normal shopper behavior…”

Having managed call centers for a decade in my previous career, I can assure you pranks and associated bullshit are absolutely normal behavior.

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
4 months ago

When I bought my house there was a large cool of orange data cable lying on the ground in my back garden at the base of a telephone pole. It was ugly, so I called Comcast to have them shorten or remove it. You think it’s hard to get their attention when you’re a customer, try NOT being a customer! I had more patience back then an wasted way too much time.

I think I had to eventually have an ‘accident’ with my garden shears. That fixed it.

Steve Lee
Steve Lee
4 months ago

I would love to get banned by one of those chat bots if only so I don’t have to see that stupid bubble pop up with the obviously fake profile picture every time I go look at cars.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Lee

for REAL

Loudsx .
Loudsx .
4 months ago

Used chatbot prior, never able to answer my questiosna dn jsut asks for all my contact info so they can call back.

which I’m pretty sure is what the dealership would prefer than me getting my answer.

so working as intended

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
4 months ago
Reply to  Loudsx .

I always assumed they were worthless, just like most dealership offerings.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
4 months ago

The whole chat bot thing just pisses me off. Seriously. Especially where it concerns what I consider to be customer service or use of an app or service.
Today I spent 4 hours fucking with Sirius trying to get my damn service going again after their latest fucked up app update. Almost gave up and cancelled the service but having been there since 2004, it’s something I am addicted to.

And don’t get me started on people at the 800 numbers that don’t speak English well yet. JFC! Are we serious? Not to be an asshole but I really want to be able to understand someone, and for them to understand WTF I am saying also…

Death to the god dammed chat bots! Let’s let real people do some of this shit for income. Tech and AI are not always the best ways to serve a customer.

Shakes hand at clouds. God damn it though.

Last edited 4 months ago by Col Lingus
BOSdriver
BOSdriver
4 months ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

At least the annual call to lower the yearly subscription has gotten shorter over the years. You used to have to have several days and basically threaten to cancel. Now, a quick 10 minute call will drop you from $30/mo to $120-ish for the year.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
4 months ago

The free-market capitalists of the 80s/90s sure have stfu these days because of the culminated globalized acquisition of USA companies

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
4 months ago

If I successfully get “banned” from the dealer website chatbot, will it stop popping up every time I click something on their site?

Car dealer websites are like one degree away from malware sites telling you your computer has a virus.

InkyLeopard
InkyLeopard
4 months ago

I don’t know how a Japanese company poses a security risk by buying out an American company. Japan buys a ton of military gear from the US, why would they try to hurt that supply chain?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
4 months ago
Reply to  InkyLeopard

I don’t trust anyone who buys used girls underpants from subway vending machines.
But I trust most of their cars. Life is a conundrum.

Amorphis
Amorphis
4 months ago

I think you mean “for” instead of “from” in the first sentence of the Tesla section: “The United Auto Workers are coming from Tesla.”

Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
4 months ago

The last chatbot I dealt with was a fellow named Ian who very conventionally sold us our Cadillac CT6. He was helpful in the extreme, arranging for multiple test drives, explaining the plethora of new to us electronic things, and treating us to a very nice lunch in an upscale bistro. We paid a fair and well below book price for the car and drove away happy as clams. (exactly how happy can a clam be?) We remained in contact with Ian for another six months as he continued to answer our questions by phone. Very nice chatbox in a very British 3 piece.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
4 months ago

The only thing that could make it more Yinzer is if the other sides of his house were a Sheetz and a Yuengling distributor.”

You forgot “being an Eagles fan at the game, fighting with other Eagles fans.”

HowintheNameofZeus
HowintheNameofZeus
4 months ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Yinzers are Steelers fans. Eagles fans would use ‘yous’ as a plural form of ‘you’ and drunkenly fight you for suggesting they’d ever utter the word ‘yinz’ or choose Sheetz over Wawa.

10001010
10001010
4 months ago

I thought the yinzers were Penguins fans. Last time I was in Pitts wearing a linux tshirt everybody thought it was related to their hockey team. I did find a great corned beef sandwich on that trip though but sadly that place closed.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
4 months ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Yinzers are most definitely out Pittsburgh way, not Filthadelphia. Interestingly enough there’s a lot of people out there familiar with the “yinz” of Pittsburgh and the “youse” of New Jersey but most are not aware of true central Pennsylvania (Altoona, Johnstown, State College) usage where it’s “youns”.

Last edited 4 months ago by OrigamiSensei
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
4 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

Y’all are crazy with the parochialism

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
4 months ago

I generally use the chatbots as a prompt to know when it’s time to quit browsing the dealer’s website. “Clippy for cars” is not for me.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
4 months ago

I especially like the ones that let you “close” them, then they continue to annoy you even more until you leave in disgust. Screw that.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago

“Have you ever used a dealership chat/chatbot? Was it helpful?”

Yes to spam my enemies:

Why YES chatbot I would love to know more! Here is all “my” information. Call me, AND text me, AND email me, AND send me letters AND knock on my door, day AND night! Oh and be sure to sell my information to anyone that wants it.

Thank you chatbot!

10001010
10001010
4 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

We had a previous employee do this to one of our higher-ups. He got tripped up because some of those report the IP address that the request came from and we were able to tie that back to him. Do with this information what you will.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Use enemy’s login info to spam the CEO…got it!

10001010
10001010
4 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Well, and maybe do this from a starbucks or a library.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago

“Fullpath has features to prevent pranksters from exploiting the chat, including a fresh update pushed yesterday that identifies and auto bans these types of users.”

So Fullpath steers pranksters onto the lane with no speed limit?

Cool!!

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
4 months ago

I would think that Nippon Steel, which has minimal presence in the North American steel industry and is buying the company specifically to gain that, would be far less likely to close plants, lay off workers, and consolidate operations than if US Steel were sold to a domestic company, like Cleveland Cliffs, which would have overlapping and redundant operations and need to rationalize quickly. Nippon has already said they intend to operate US Steel as a subsidiary under its existing name and with local management and retain the headquarters in Pittsburgh, which is already more autonomy than would happen under a domestic purchaser.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
4 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

No idea how much they produce in the US, but it lists 6 locations for them in the US with 2 joint ventures of considerable size with ArcelorMittal. So maybe a little more than minimal presence.

They supposedly have a good relationship with unions on other operations and claim to continue with US steels. But only time will tell.

I was shocked the PA Gov came out so negative/nasty so quickly, is he confused and thinks they are a Chinese company…

Though I think part of the reason for the merger is to supply the increase in EV manufacturing expected by many foreign companies in the US.

Last edited 4 months ago by Brian Ash
Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
4 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

Yeah, but pretty sure they’re like #6 in market share here vs #2 or #3. I suspect political grandstanding and a mentality stuck in the 1980s when “Japanese corporations taking over the world” was the big scare of the day

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
4 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

This, for sure. The following 180 took place in my GenX brain on hearing the news.

Reflexive old-programming 1985 me: “WHAT? The damn Japanese have bought US Steel?”

Rational, living-in-the-current-day me: “Pity an American company couldn’t close the deal, but thank God it’s the Japanese and not the Chinese or the Russians. At least they like us.”

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
4 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

Maybe PA gov invested in the two US company stocks. Is pissed that his investments will tank. His insider info failed him.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
4 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

If they own it, they can decide to starve the US of steel for the benefit of just about anyone else they want. It’s a national security issue for real.

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
4 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

US Steel, who purchased a number of Canadian steel mills and shut them down? No sympathy from me. Zero.Fucks.Given.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
4 months ago

“I’ve been following the attempted sales of U.S. Steel with the kind of attention the media usually reserves for anything that happens at Harvard University, except, you know, this is actually important.”

I’m gonna assume this is a poor attempt at sarcasm.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
4 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

Sod off Matt. Nobody disses on my alma mater’s football team. Their losing streak was unmatched for decades.

https://exhibitions.library.columbia.edu/exhibits/show/roar-lion-roar/recent-days/the-streak

Could be worse. Could’ve been CalTech basketball!

https://www.nbcsports.com/college-basketball/news/caltech-ends-26-year-310-game-league-losing-streak

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
4 months ago

A vaaaaaaaaaaaast majority of the time, the chatbot popups are the most infuriating thing. I’m just trying to look at the cars and then the window pops up and gives the how can we help you message, which I don’t want so I close it out, but then it still lingers and I can’t get rid of it fully and I accidentally mouse over it and it pops right back up again and all I want is a frickin’ Pepsi!

V10omous
V10omous
4 months ago

I have used the chat/bots before to get basic info about vehicles (is it really in stock or does “in transit” mean “sold order”) but now they are universally useless, because they won’t answer even basic questions without getting both a phone # and email. If you’re going to give that stuff up and put up with the barrage of calls and spam anyways, you might as well just talk to a person directly.

RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
4 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I used their chat bots to check inventory. They would return units subject to stop ships that were otherwise not shown on their website.

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