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Workshop: Socially Responsible Language Modelling Research (SoLaR)

Low-Resource Languages Jailbreak GPT-4

Yong Zheng-Xin · Cristina Menghini · Stephen Bach


AI safety training and red-teaming of large language models (LLMs) are measures to mitigate the generation of unsafe content. Our work exposes the inherent cross-lingual vulnerability of these safety mechanisms, resulting from the linguistic inequality of safety training data, by successfully circumventing GPT-4's safeguard through translating unsafe English inputs into low-resource languages. On the AdvBenchmark, GPT-4 engages with the unsafe translated inputs and provides actionable items that can get the users towards their harmful goals 79% of the time, which is on par with or even surpassing state-of-the-art jailbreaking attacks. Other high-/mid-resource languages have significantly lower attack success rate, which suggests that the cross-lingual vulnerability mainly applies to low-resource languages. Previously, limited training on low-resource languages primarily affects speakers of those languages, causing technological disparities. However, our work highlights a crucial shift: this deficiency now poses a risk to all LLMs users. Publicly available translation APIs enable anyone to exploit LLMs' safety vulnerabilities. Therefore, our work calls for a more holistic red-teaming efforts to develop robust multilingual safeguards with wide language coverage.

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