Chatbots have grown to be an essential part of business nowadays. If you’re looking to put an AI program to help you run your business but are in doubt about its security, this article will let you know more about how secure chatbots are. We’ll throw in information to help you with your peace of mind and give platforms where you can create amazing chatbots.
Table of Contents
- What Are Chatbots?
- Chatbots Security
- All About Chatbot Security Risks
- 5 Best Chatbot Platforms
Chatbots are, in simple terms, an extension of existing Human Interface Mediums (HIMs), such as mobile phones and the internet.
They let customers interact with a service provider (e.g. a bank, online shopping catalog, or public utility) via an artificial messenger or ‘bot’.
Many of the current generations of Chatbots can respond to more complex questions orally too – you just have to look at the popularity of AI assistants like the Amazon home hub bot Alexa to recognize that voice is becoming an increasingly important feature of chatbot technology.
Chatbots in the commercial sector have moved well beyond the ‘Press one for admin’ automated phone response and, thanks to fledgling AI, are now interacting with customers on a far more personalized level.
In fact, it’s often difficult to tell whether you’re talking to a Chatbot or a real person. This has resulted in some concerns as to the security of such technology. Fortunately, chatbot security specialists are way ahead of the curve.
In reality, Chatbots are much like any other digital technology – they are only as secure as you make them. Though there’s the potential for them to be used as a backdoor by hackers, if you’re willing to invest appropriately they’re as safe and secure as any other customer-facing technology. While it’s important to take a cautious approach, chatbots should not be perceived as a particularly vulnerable technology.
As with all new digital tech, illegal actors will try and find weaknesses and those designing and building Chatbots will respond by improving defenses. Chatbot technology is now mature enough that security specialists understand where it is vulnerable and how we can best protect against exploitation.
While nothing can compare to the level of security provided by those who are experts in the field, our guide should have provided you with some insight into the processes used to safeguard your chatbot services.
While the only truly secure way of safeguarding your chatbot technology is to allow experienced designers and security specialists to test and improve the chatbot’s performance, there are several chatbot security measures that can be performed to assess the integrity of your technology. They include:
Penetration Testing – Penetration testing is a way of testing a system or technology for vulnerabilities. Sometimes referred to as ‘ethical hacking,’ it is either performed manually by talented cybersecurity experts or automated by software applications.
API security testing – There are a number of tools out there for you to check the integrity of your Application Programming Interface (API). However, security specialists typically have access to up-to-date software and information that will help them identify vulnerabilities that others can’t.
Comprehensive UX testing – An intelligently designed technology typically results in a good user experience. If you’re looking to test the security of your chatbot, it’s a good idea to carry out your own user experience test. How does it feel to engage with your chatbot? Does it behave in the way you expected? Are there any clear and obvious faults?
Perform these tests to ensure chatbot security. Your developers will most likely do that for you to secure chatbot implementation on your business website or page.
While chatbots are very helpful in businesses, during peak seasons, especially December, businesses tend to have more sales both in local stores and online compared to the other months. But, chatbot security risks arise when more people tend to visit your website. The more traffic to your website, the higher the risks will be.
All chatbots' security risks can be grouped into one of two categories:
Threats are one-off events, including malware and DDoS attacks. Business-specific targeted attacks can result in you being locked out of your system and held to ransom. Alternatively, hackers can threaten to expose (supposedly) secure customer data.
Vulnerabilities are cracks in the system that offer cybercriminals a way into your system and compromise your security. They typically occur due to weak coding, poor safeguards, or user error. All systems have weak spots – there hasn’t yet been a system that is entire ‘hack-proof’. However, chatbot security specialists are constantly updating the technology’s defenses, ensuring that any cracks are sealed as soon as they are discovered.
Threats and vulnerabilities go hand in hand, they’re two sides of the same coin. In other words, threats take advantage of vulnerabilities to do damage.
If you look more closely at the various security risks, you’ll find that they’re diverse and difficult to protect against without expert help. They include:
- Impersonation of individuals
- Data alterations
- Re-purposing of bots by hackers
- Un-encrypted communications
- Back-door access by hackers
- Lack of HTTP protocol
- Absence of security protocols for employees
- Hosting platform issues
- Chatbots security
Whether or not a chatbot is secure is a complicated question because there’s no definitive answer. Even the most robust and secure systems could have potential vulnerabilities, and be at risk for threats. These risks do not only affect your business and might also affect your customers' personal data stored in your database as they share personal data once they land on your website.
However, there are security protocols you can put in place to increase chatbot security should you decide to use them. The process is similar to any other system that involves introducing sensitive data in that respect. What you do on the offense can determine the level of security of your chatbots.
Chatbots use two main security processes – authentication (user identity verification) and authorization (granting permission for a user to access a portal or carry out a certain task). The most effective defensive security measures utilize both authentication and authorization.
Banking businesses and other financial institutions use chatbots to provide their clients with resources through their mobile apps and websites. As chatbots learn, people change personal data on a random basis. You need to encourage your developers to perform enhancing chatbot security.
The personal user date these chatbots are using to learn is then converted to stored personal data for future purposes.
As the technology is often used to collect personal data, and chatbots typically have access to a large knowledge base, some users are concerned that the technology could be targeted by malicious cyber hackers who use methods that might compromise the cybersecurity protection of companies.
Despite this, big businesses have adopted Chatbots with open arms, incorporating them into both their automated response systems and social media platforms. Facebook, SMS, WhatsApp, and also WeChat are all being prepared for greater Chatbot use and future customer service tech is expected to be predominantly chat-based.
But it’s not as simple as building a bot and sending it out to interact with anyone who happens across it. All businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of personal information, no matter how that data is transferred, stored, or collected. With the introduction of GDPR, this responsibility is more explicit than ever.
While the most secure means of safeguarding your chatbot and fulfilling your legal obligations is to employ the help of chatbot professionals, it’s also a good idea to have a thorough understanding of the threats, concerns, safeguards, and counter-measures yourself. With this in mind, we’ll begin by looking at the potential risks associated with the technology.
“The first impression is the last impression,” they say. It also holds true for customer service. The first touchpoint between your prospect and your business defines whether they will turn into a customer or not.
To perfect the first impression and the impressions after that, businesses today are turning to chatbot development platforms.
With a myriad of chatbot platforms out there, we’ve narrowed it down to a list of the 5 best chatbot-building platforms out there. The list below goes into detail on their features, pros, cons, pricing details, and if you require any technical expertise for building a chatbot for your business.
Good conversations turn leads into customers… and customers into brand ambassadors. Newbies and experts use TruVISIBILITY's no-code, AI Chatbots builder to create bots that:
- Convert leads
- Capture vital data
- Personalize a customer’s journey, 24/7
When you sign up for TruVISIBILITY today, you get full access to their entire digital marketing platform.
Intercom provides a range of products in the customer support space. They provide custom chatbots for use cases around sales, marketing, and support. These chatbots can also be integrated with e-commerce and social platforms, and have live chat options.
Plans are starting from $499/month which includes 10 seats. You are required to pay more if you have a high volume of conversations.
If you’re an independent business owner or a small business, then Landbot is best suited for your needs. Ensure to go through their blogs as well as content to better understand how you can create engaging, and memorable customer experiences.
An intuitive tool, Lanbot.io, allows you to build rule-based bots and AI-powered bots to seamlessly interact with your prospective customers and generate high-quality dialogues. Landbot also allows human agents to jump into the conversation mid-way and take control of the chatbots in real-time.
If you’re an independent business owner or a small business, then Landbot is best suited for your needs. Be sure to go through their blogs as well as content to better understand how you can create engaging, and memorable customer experiences
LivePerson is an excellent platform that helps you comfortably build, deploy, and optimize AI-powered chatbots. One of LivePerson’s highlights is that it enables you to leverage advanced analytics for continual optimization and real-time intent detection.
The pricing of the platform is based on the scope of automation and the extensiveness of messaging channels. You can book a demo or get more information from their website
Make sure that your use cases and scope of work are mapped out thoroughly in order to get the most value out of the solutions you have.
Chatfuel is yet another chatbot platform that is limited to just Facebook Messenger. You can leverage NLP to identify intents and utterances and subsequently share predefined answers. Chatfuel’s key feature is that it stores the users' data in the database, which allows you to get back in touch with them in the future, as you see fit.
The free version of the platform allows you access to all the features for up to 50 users. The Pro plan starts at $15/month, while the Premium Plan starts at $300/month. The latter comes with unlimited bots for up to 30,000 users
Use the network extractor to map keywords that your users would relate to for a particular intent and trigger actions seamlessly.
Chatbots are an exciting and innovative development in customer service technology and AI, with the potential to revolutionize the way businesses interact with their customers.
The technology represents a giant step forward for customer service provision – it’s a user-friendly portal that makes the most of already-familiar technology, it offers a more personalized experience, and provides a faster response to customer queries.
However, they also pose a number of important chatbot security questions. If not properly protected, they’re a potential back door for those looking to harvest valuable personal data or access secure systems.
All this information about the many chatbot risks for your online business will promote awareness among many us users, business owners, and also other parties in the industry affected by these issues.
If the proper security measures are taken, a chatbot is a safe application that can drastically improve the customer experience, allow organizations to cut costs, and present a valuable opportunity to automate high-volume customer inquiries.
Want to receive more articles?
Sign-up for our weekly newsletter to receive info that will help your business grow