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Google Sues to Stop Hackers From Exploiting AI Hype to Spread Malware | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Google is resorting to a lawsuit to stop hackers from exploiting interest in AI to trick users into downloading malware.  

The company is suing a group of scammers who’ve been abusing Google’s Bard AI brand to phish consumers. They allegedly created social media pages and ads that pretended to offer access to a downloadable version of Bard, Google’s ChatGPT competitor. In reality, the ads contained malware that compromised a user’s social media accounts, Google says.

(Credit: Google)
(Credit: Google)

The same ads also suggested people would receive unlimited free access to Bard, but Google’s chatbot is already free. (OpenAI offers ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month.) According to Google’s complaint, clicking the ads triggered a download for a RAR archive that contained a malicious browser extension. To open the RAR archive, the user had to type in a password from the ads. 

“Once installed, the malicious browser extension collects sensitive data from the victim’s social media account and sends it to a remote server controlled by Defendants,” Google says. 

The scammers were fairly prolific, misleading “numerous people around the world.” Google says it filed about 300 takedown requests to shut down the group’s internet presence. Now the company wants to go beyond a whack-a-mole approach in blocking the group’s activities. 

“We are seeking an order to stop the scammers from setting up domains like these and allow us to have them disabled with US domain registrars,” the company adds. “If this is successful, it will serve as a deterrent and provide a clear mechanism for preventing similar scams in the future.”

Google has used lawsuits to stop other scammers and hackers before. In this case, the company was unable to identify the culprits behind the Bard-malware scheme, according to the complaint. Nevertheless, the lawsuit is asking a US district court for a “permanent injunction” to help the company shut down the online activities, including creating new internet domains or websites that use the Google and Bard trademarks. The same injunction would also force the fraudsters to give up any profits they made through the Bard malware scheme. 

Google began public testing of Bard in March. Users can access the free chatbot through the company’s official domain at bard.google.com.

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