AI is the big thing right now. So, of course, scammers have glommed on to the hype in order to take advantage of people interested in new technology.
Now, Google is stepping in and suing a group of scammers impersonating the tech giant to steal victims’ sensitive data.
In a new post on the company’s official blog, Google General Counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado announced that it had filed a lawsuit in California on Monday against a scammer group that had duped users into downloading malware on Facebook.
According to Google, the scammers “created social media pages and ran ads that encouraged people to ‘download’ Bard, our freely available generative AI tool that does not need to be downloaded.” The scammers used Google’s logos, trademarks, and product names like Bard as part of their scheme. The ads usually push targets towards a third-party website set up by the scammers but built to look like its affiliated with Google. On the site, visitors are encouraged to download software to use Bard. However, this is actually harmful malware which is then used to steal the victim’s sensitive data.
While Google does not know the identity of the individuals, the lawsuit looks to block this specific group of fraudsters from setting up their scheme on domain names by allowing Google to work alongside the domain name registrars to disable them as they pop up.
Google says it filed “roughly 300 takedowns” related to this scammer group. The company says the scheme resulted in users’ social media accounts being compromised after they downloaded the disguised malware.
Mashable first covered this scam back in May as part of a broader report on how scammers in Vietnam were stealing large Facebook pages and conning users into downloading malware disguised as Bard and other tools and applications. The Verge shared an example of one of the scam Facebook pages from Google’s lawsuit and the page appears as others did in our report earlier this year.
This is certainly an interesting step by Google and could lead to more companies combatting scammers in this way. In fact, Mashable has previously reported on scammers utilizing OpenAI’s hugely popular ChatGPT brand in order to spread malware as well.
As Google noted with Bard, there is no need for users to download any software or third-party application in order to use Google’s AI chatbot. Its freely available on the web. The same thing goes for ChatGPT.