Google is suing scammers who are trying to use the hype around generative AI to trick people into downloading malware. the company has announced. In a lawsuit filed today in California, the company says people believed to be based in Vietnam are creating social media pages and running ads encouraging users to “download” its Bard generative AI service. The download actually delivers malware to victims, which steals social media credentials for scammers to use.
“The defendants are three individuals whose identities are unknown and who claim to provide, among other things, “the latest version” of Google Bard for download,” the lawsuit reads. “The defendants are not affiliated with Google in any way, although they pretend to be. “They have used Google trademarks, including Google, Google AI, and Bard, to lure unsuspecting victims into downloading malware onto their computers.” The lawsuit notes that scammers have specifically used promoted posts on Facebook in an attempt to distribute malware.
As with crypto scams, the lawsuit highlights how interest in an emerging technology can be weaponized against people who may not fully understand how it works. For example, scammers in this case imply that Bard is a paid service or app that users must download, when in fact it is available for free on bard.google.com.
Google’s blog post notes that it has already submitted around 300 takedown requests regarding these scammers, but it wants them to be prevented from setting up future malicious domains and wants them disabled with US domain registrars. Lawsuits are an effective tool to establish legal precedent, alter the tools used by scammers, and increase consequences for bad actors,” Google general counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado writes in the company’s blog post.