virus: Google sues scammers over fake Bard AI malware

Google on Monday filed a lawsuit in California federal court against anonymous individuals it accused of marketing fake “downloads” of its artificial-intelligence chatbot Bard in order to install malware on victims’ computers.

Google said the alleged scammers are misusing its trademarks with names like “Google AI” and “AIGoogleBard” to lure users into installing the malware, which the tech giant said allows the defendants to steal social-media login credentials.

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The defendants, identified in the complaint as Does 1-3, could not be reached. Google general counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado said in a statement that the scammers “misled numerous people around the world” and that the company has filed nearly 300 related takedown requests.

DeLaine Prado said such lawsuits are “an effective tool for establishing a legal precedent, disrupting the tools used by scammers, and raising the consequences for bad actors.”

Tech companies including Google have been racing to incorporate artificial intelligence into their products. Google first released Bard publicly in March.

The lawsuit filed Monday said that the scammers use social media posts and web pages to advertise free downloads of Bard, which in reality is not downloadable. They then use the malware downloaded by victims to take over their social media accounts.

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The company said targets of the scheme include small businesses and other Facebook advertisers. Google also accused the defendants of violating its terms of service by impersonating the company and hosting the malware on Google Sites and Google Drive.

The tech giant asked the court to block the scheme and requested the scammers’ profits and other monetary damages.

The case is Google LLC v. Does 1-3, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:23-cv-05823.

For Google: Tiana Demas of Cooley

For the defendants: attorney information not yet available

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