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Protect Your Data from LLMs: Mitigating AI Risks Effectively

· 6 min read
Sama - Carlos Samame
Co-founder & COO @BoxyHQ
Deepak Prabhakara
Co-founder & CEO @BoxyHQ

Protect Your Data from LLMs: Mitigating AI Risks Effectively

Mitigating Risks for AI: Ensuring Security and Ethical Use

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance, its integration into our daily lives and various industries brings both tremendous benefits and significant risks. Addressing these risks proactively is crucial to harnessing AI’s full potential while ensuring security and ethical use. Let's embark on a journey through the AI pipeline, uncovering the potential pitfalls and discovering strategies to mitigate them.

The Journey Begins: Data Collection and Handling

Every AI system starts with data. The collection and handling of data are the foundation stones of AI development. However, this stage is filled with risks, especially when dealing with large language models (LLMs):

  • Data Privacy and Security: Imagine a treasure trove of personal information, vulnerable to breaches and misuse if not adequately protected.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Encrypt data both in transit and at rest. Minimize data collection to only what is necessary and use anonymization techniques to protect sensitive data.
    • Real-World Example: Consider a fintech AI system that collects customer financial data. By encrypting this data and anonymizing customer identifiers, the system can safeguard sensitive information while still providing valuable insights.

Critical Phase: Model Development and Training

With data securely in place, the next step is developing and training the AI model. This phase is where the AI learns from the data, but it also introduces new challenges:

  • Bias and Fairness: Biases in training data can lead to unfair outcomes, perpetuating societal inequities.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Use diverse and representative datasets. Implement bias detection tools and conduct regular audits to ensure fairness.
  • AI Hallucination: AI systems can produce results that appear credible but are incorrect or nonsensical.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Use high-quality, verified training data. Implement validation mechanisms and incorporate human oversight to catch and correct hallucinations.
    • Real-World Example: In credit scoring, an AI system trained on diverse financial profiles can help ensure fairer credit decisions by minimizing biases. Regular audits can further ensure the system's decisions remain equitable.

The Foundry: Securing the Model

As the AI model is developed, ensuring its security is paramount:

  • Adversarial Attacks and Robustness: Adversaries can manipulate inputs to fool the AI, compromising its integrity.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Conduct adversarial training and robust testing. Regularly update and test models against new attack vectors.
    • Real-World Example: An AI-based financial fraud detection system must be robust against sophisticated attacks. By continuously training the model with adversarial examples, it can better detect and mitigate fraudulent activities.
  • Users Bypassing Access Controls: Users may bypass access controls and gain unauthorized access to information they should not be allowed to see.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Implement stringent access control mechanisms and regularly review access permissions. Use multi-factor authentication and monitor for unusual access patterns.

AI Security Blocks

Photo by fabio on Unsplash

The Deployment: Model Inference and Live Use

Once trained, the AI model is deployed, but this phase comes with its own set of risks:

  • Operational Risk: AI systems can fail or perform unpredictably in real-world conditions.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Continuously monitor and validate AI systems. Implement real-time monitoring to detect and respond to anomalies.
  • Compliance and Legal Risks: Ensuring AI systems comply with regulations is critical to avoid legal penalties and maintain trust.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Stay informed about relevant laws and ensure compliance. Regularly audit AI systems for adherence to legal standards.
    • Real-World Example: A FinTech AI system providing real-time trading recommendations must be continuously monitored and updated to ensure accuracy and compliance with financial regulations. Real-time monitoring can help detect and address issues before they escalate.
  • Audit Logging: Implement comprehensive audit logging to track user activities and detect unauthorized access or malicious use of the AI.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Ensure that all user actions are logged and regularly review logs for suspicious activities. Implement automated alert systems to notify administrators of potential security breaches.
    • Real-World Example: A company using a third-party LLM should have audit logging in place to monitor and track if someone is using AI in a malicious way, ensuring accountability and swift action against misuse.

The Foundation: Securing the Infrastructure

Underpinning the entire AI pipeline is the need for secure infrastructure:

  • Infrastructure Security: Protect servers, networks, and storage solutions that support AI systems.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Implement robust security measures and resilience planning to ensure continued operation despite disruptions or attacks.
    • Real-World Example: A cloud-based AI service should have strong security protocols to protect against cyber-attacks, ensuring the service remains reliable and secure.

The Governance: Establishing AI Governance

Overarching all these stages is the need for strong governance:

  • Governance Frameworks: Develop comprehensive frameworks to oversee ethical and secure AI development and deployment.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Regularly audit AI systems, ensure compliance with policies, and engage stakeholders to maintain transparency and accountability.
  • Ethical and Societal Impact: Consider the broad societal implications of AI deployment, such as impacts on employment, privacy, and human rights.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Develop and adhere to ethical frameworks. Educate the public about AI's benefits and risks to foster a well-informed society.
  • LLM Provider Data Breaches: Large language model providers can experience data breaches, compromising sensitive information.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Choose providers with strong security practices, regularly review security protocols, and have contingency plans in place for potential breaches.
    • Real-World Example: A tech company deploying AI solutions should have a governance framework in place to ensure all AI initiatives align with ethical standards and regulatory requirements.


The journey through the AI pipeline highlights the various risks and the importance of addressing them proactively. By securing data, models, usage, and infrastructure, and establishing robust governance frameworks, we can mitigate these risks and ensure the ethical and secure use of AI. As we navigate this complex landscape, vigilance and proactive measures will be our guiding lights, helping us harness AI's potential while safeguarding against its risks.