Google sues scammers over creation of fake Bard AI chatbot

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Google has filed a lawsuit against three scammers for creating fake advertisements for updates to Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot Bard, among other things, which, when downloaded, installs malware.

The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 13 and names the defendants as “DOES 1-3,” as they remain anonymous. Google says that the scammers have used its trademarks specifically relating to its AI products, such as “Google, Google AI, and Bard,” to “lure unsuspecting victims into downloading malware onto their computers.”

It gave an example of deceptive social media pages and trademarked content that make it look like a Google product, with invitations to download free versions of Bard and other AI products.

Screenshot of fake “Google AI” social media page used by scammers. Source: Court documents (Google)

Google said that unsuspecting users unknowingly download the malware by following the links, which are designed to access and exploit users’ social media login credentials and primarily target businesses and advertisers. 

The tech giant asked the court for damages, an award of attorneys’ fees, permanent injunctive relief for injuries inflicted by the defendants, all profits obtained by the scammers, a comprehensive restraining order and anything else the court deems “just and equitable.”

Related: OpenAI promises to fund legal costs for ChatGPT users sued over copyright

The lawsuit comes as AI services, including chatbot services, have seen a significant increase in users worldwide. According to recent data, Google’s Bard bot gets 49.7 million unique visitors each month. 

OpenAI’s popular AI chatbot service, ChatGPT, has more than 100 million monthly users with nearly 1.5 billion monthly visitors to its website.

This upsurge in popularity and accessibility of AI services has also brought many lawsuits against the companies developing the technology. OpenAI, Google and Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — have all been caught up in legal battles in the past year.

In July, Google was brought into a class-action lawsuit. Eight individuals who filed on behalf of “millions of class members,” such as internet users and copyright holders, said that Google had violated their privacy and property rights. It came after Google updated its new privacy policy with data scraping capabilities for AI training purposes.

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