Jailbreaking ChatGPT via Prompt Engineering: An Empirical Study

Jailbreaking ChatGPT via Prompt Engineering: An Empirical Study
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Original Paper
Large Language Models (LLMs), like ChatGPT, have demonstrated vast potential but also introduce challenges related to content constraints and potential misuse. Our study investigates three key research questions: (1) the number of different prompt types that can jailbreak LLMs, (2) the effectiveness of jailbreak prompts in circumventing LLM constraints, and (3) the resilience of ChatGPT against these jailbreak prompts. Initially, we develop a classification model to analyze the distribution of existing prompts, identifying ten distinct patterns and three categories of jailbreak prompts. Subsequently, we assess the jailbreak capability of prompts with ChatGPT versions 3.5 and 4.0, utilizing a dataset of 3,120 jailbreak questions across eight prohibited scenarios. Finally, we evaluate the resistance of ChatGPT against jailbreak prompts, finding that the prompts can consistently evade the restrictions in 40 use-case scenarios. The study underscores the importance of prompt structures in jailbreaking LLMs and discusses the challenges of robust jailbreak prompt generation and prevention.

Summary Notes

Blog Post: Simplifying Jailbreaking ChatGPT Through Prompt Engineering: A Study Overview


The development of large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT has significantly changed our interaction with technology, offering solutions in various industries.
However, the ethical and security concerns around these technologies have led to the practice of "jailbreaking" LLMs. This involves finding ways to bypass the restrictions set by developers to exploit the model's full capabilities.
This post explores recent studies on jailbreaking LLMs, focusing on the methods, outcomes, and implications of these actions.


Gathering Jailbreak Prompts

  • Researchers collected 78 jailbreak prompts from public sources, categorizing them based on their bypass strategies.

Classifying the Prompts

  • These prompts were classified into three main types: Pretending, Attention Shifting, and Privilege Escalation, offering insights into various jailbreaking tactics.

Creating Test Scenarios

  • Eight scenarios were created based on OpenAI's usage policies to test the effectiveness of these prompts in circumventing model restrictions.


  • The study tested these prompts using GPT-3.5-Turbo and GPT-4 models with over 31,200 queries to see how well they could withstand jailbreaking attempts.

Results and Discussion

Types of Jailbreak Prompts

  • Pretending emerged as the most common and effective method, where users manipulate the context or role-play to deceive the model.

Scenario Effectiveness

  • Scenarios involving illegal activities, fraud, and adult content were more susceptible to jailbreaking. The effectiveness varied, highlighting the challenges in securing LLMs.

Model Resistance

  • GPT-4 showed better resistance to jailbreak attempts compared to GPT-3.5-Turbo, especially with harmful content. However, both models struggled in scenarios like political campaigning, indicating a need for improved restrictions.

Real-World Implications

  • The study emphasizes the need for more advanced prevention techniques against jailbreaking and suggests aligning content restrictions more closely with legal and ethical standards.


The study underscores the ongoing challenge of enhancing LLM resilience against sophisticated jailbreak prompts. It highlights the importance of prompt engineering in both exploiting and understanding LLMs, advocating for a balanced approach to model development and regulation.

Future Directions

Future work includes developing a detailed taxonomy of jailbreak prompts, improving model resistance, and examining the implications of jailbreaking in regulated environments. Assessing the impact of jailbreaking under different legal frameworks could help align technology advancements with societal norms.

Wrap-up and Call to Action

This exploration into LLM jailbreaking through prompt engineering sheds light on the vulnerabilities and challenges of current models. For AI Engineers in enterprises, it's vital to keep up with LLM advancements and prompt engineering to use these technologies responsibly.
Balancing innovation with regulation is key to ethical and conscientious AI development.

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Athina AI Research Agent

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