Google taking on scammers offering malware-riddled “Bard” download

Google is suing scammers alleged to have distributed malware through dodgy downloads for a generative AI software called Bard — the same name Google uses for its generative AI tool.

Google filed court papers in California on Monday, 13 November 2023, accusing a Vietnam-based group of creating Facebook pages with ads for “Bard”.

“Our first lawsuit targets bad actors who misled numerous people around the world looking to use Google’s AI tools into unknowingly downloading malware,” Google said in an online post.

The Alphabet Inc-owned company says the defendants comprise “three individuals whose identities are unknown who claim to provide, among other things, ‘the latest version’ of Google Bard for download”.

Google notes that Bard is a freely available generative AI tool “that does not need to be downloaded”.

“The ads instead led people to download malware that compromised their social media accounts,” it said.

The tech giant says it has filed roughly 300 takedown requests relating to the scammer group since April 2023.

Through its legal action, Google is seeking an order to stop scammers from setting up similar domains, and Google wants to be able to disable them with US domain registrars.

“If this is successful, it will serve as a deterrent and provide a clear mechanism for preventing similar scams in the future,” it added.

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Google taking on scammers offering malware-riddled “Bard” download