Google Takes Legal Action Against Scammers Behind Malware-Infected Bard Replica

The hype surrounding emerging technologies like generative AI creates a wild west for bad actors seeking to capitalize on consumer confusion. Google is suing individuals based in Vietnam for allegedly tricking people into downloading an “unpublished” version of its Bard chatbot, which was reportedly stuffed with malware.

The lawsuit, filed in California, alleges that the scammers set up social media pages and ran ads encouraging users to download a version of Bard that doesn’t deliver helpful answers. Once downloaded, the malware steals passwords and social media credentials, with Facebook as the preferred distribution method.

Google sent over 300 takedown requests before opting for the lawsuit, which doesn’t seek financial compensation but rather an order to stop the fraudsters from setting up similar domains with US-based registrars. The company believes this will serve as a deterrent for preventing similar scams in the future.

The lawsuit highlights how emerging technologies are ripe for this type of fraud. The alleged scammers claimed that Bard is a paid service requiring a download, when in reality, it’s a free web service.