Google fights scammers using Bard hype to spread malware

Google is suing scammers who try to use the hype around generative AI to trick people into downloading malware, the company announced. In a complaint filed today in California, the company claims that individuals believed to be based in Vietnam are creating social media pages and serving ads encouraging users to “download” its Bard generative AI service. The download actually delivers malware to victims, which steals social media credentials for the scammers to use.

“The defendants are three individuals whose identities are unknown who purport to provide, among other things, ‘the latest version’ of Google Bard for download,” the lawsuit states. “The defendants are in no way affiliated with Google, although they claim to be. They used Google brands, including Google, Google AI and Bard, to trick unsuspecting victims into downloading malware onto their computers. The lawsuit says the scammers specifically used promoted Facebook posts to attempt to distribute malware.

A screenshot from Google’s filing showing one of the scams.
Image: Google

Similar to 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 application that users must download, when in reality it is available for free on

Google’s blog post says it has already submitted around 300 takedown requests regarding these scammers, but wants them to be prevented from creating future malicious domains and wants them deactivated with US domain registrars. “Lawsuits are an effective tool for establishing legal precedent, disrupting the tools used by fraudsters, and increasing consequences for bad actors,” Google General Counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado writes in the company blog .

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