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Google sues scammers over fake chatbot for malware

CALIFORNIA (BLOOMBERG) – Alphabet Inc’s Google is suing five unidentified scammers who tricked people looking for Google’s artificial intelligence chatbot Bard into downloading malware onto their computers.

In a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California, Google claimed the scammers set up social media accounts encouraging people to download a fake version of Bard. When users downloaded the file, it installed malicious software onto their devices, allowing the scammers to access their social media accounts.

Google’s lawsuit is the first of its kind from a major tech company, highlighting how new legal issues will arise as the artificial intelligence craze continues to sweep countries around the world.

“As public excitement in new generative AI tools has increased, scammers are increasingly taking advantage of unsuspecting users,” said Google’s general counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado in a blog post published on Monday morning.

Google does not know the identities of the scammers, who are behind Facebook profiles called “Google AI,” “AIGoogle,” “AiGoogle,” “AIGoogle.Plus,” “AIGoogle Bard FB,” and “AIGoogleBard.” It is common practice in the cybersecurity field to sue unidentified individuals with a commitment to amend the complaint to add the names of the defendants when they are identified during discovery.

The company is suing the scammers for trademark infringement because they used Google’s logo to promote their scheme. They’re also suing for breach of contract.

Google on Monday also filed another lawsuit against fraudsters, who they allege set up dozens of Google accounts and used them to submit thousands of false copyright claims against their competitors. That suit, also filed in the Northern District of California, claims that two individuals have created at least 65 Google accounts to submit thousands of fraudulent notices of copyright infringement against more than 117,000 websites.

DeLaine Prado in the blog post said the actions are part of Google’s efforts to “establish needed legal precedents in emerging fields of innovation.”

“Clear rules against frauds, scams, and harassment are important – no matter how novel the setting,” she said.

The Google sign is shown over an entrance to the company’s new building in New York on Wednesday, September 6. PHOTO: AP
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