- Bing Chat’s ad experiment opens the door to malvertising, putting users at risk.
- Scammers are tricking users with malicious ads in Bing Chat responses.
- Vigilance is key: Verify websites before downloading to stay safe online.
In recent times, Microsoft’s Bing Chat, powered by GPT-4, has gained substantial popularity among users seeking AI-driven chatbot interactions. However, a concerning report has emerged, revealing potential malware threats lurking within its responses.
The rise of Bing chat
Microsoft’s Bing Chat has rapidly become a go-to platform for users looking for free, internet-connected, and sophisticated AI-driven conversations. With the impressive GPT-4 technology underpinning it, Bing Chat offers a multimodal experience, setting it apart from its competitors.
The malware-Ad Nexus
In March, Microsoft initiated a new experiment within Bing Chat – incorporating advertisements into its responses. These ads were strategically placed, appearing both in footnotes and upon hovering over responses. However, what began as an attempt to monetize the platform has taken a dark turn.
The malvertising menace
A recent report by cybersecurity experts at Malwarebytes raises an alarming red flag. It suggests that the ads introduced into Bing Chat are now being exploited for malvertising purposes. Malvertising, a nefarious practice, involves using seemingly legitimate online advertisements to spread malware and compromise unsuspecting users’ devices.
The deceptive tactic
According to the report, scammers have ingeniously inserted malicious ads to ensure they take precedence over organic result ads during the hover ad experience in Bing Chat. This deceptive maneuver catches users off guard. For instance, a search for “Advanced IP Scanner results” may reveal a malicious ad as the most prominent link, with the genuine organic ad discreetly placed beneath it. Users are easily led astray by clicking the seemingly legitimate top link.
Once users fall into this trap and click on the malicious ad, the report outlines a disconcerting series of events. Users are swiftly redirected to a website designed to filter traffic, distinguishing genuine victims from automated bots. The genuine victims are then led to a decoy page that lures them into clicking on a tantalizing “free download” button. This action initiates the download of an installer that houses malicious files, potentially compromising the user’s device.
The culprit behind the scam
To execute this intricate scam, malicious actors must have gained unauthorized access to the advertising accounts of legitimate businesses. They then craft and inject these deceptive ads, camouflaging them among the legitimate ones, thereby exploiting users’ trust in the authenticity of these advertisements.
The way forward
While the emergence of such threats is alarming, the solution doesn’t necessarily involve ceasing the use of Bing Chat. Malicious ads can potentially surface anywhere on the internet. Instead, users are urged to exercise vigilance and caution before downloading anything from the web onto their devices. Verifying the legitimacy of a website and its content is paramount in protecting against such scams.
Staying safe in the digital landscape
The proliferation of AI-powered chatbots like Bing Chat has revolutionized online interactions. Still, the accompanying rise in malvertising serves as a stark reminder of the evolving tactics employed by cybercriminals. As technology continues to advance, users must remain vigilant and informed to protect their digital lives from lurking threats. In the case of Bing Chat, it’s not about avoiding the platform altogether but rather navigating the digital landscape with a discerning eye and a security-conscious mindset.
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