Every day, AI seems to flip a coin between being our tech hero or digital villain. One day, it's saving the day, another day, it's stirring up some trouble. In this mix, Bing Chat made a splash by teaming up with OpenAI, turning the mundane task of searching into a friendly chat.
With Microsoft leading the way, these tech giants were able to integrate the capabilities of ChatGPT into the Bing search engine.
This integration was meant to change the search engine game. Now, instead of staring at a blank search bar, like other typical search engines, you're chatting with what feels like an old buddy. But while many were expecting to experience this new way to search in amazement, some shady stuff started cooking behind the scenes.
Many people have incorporated AI into their tech use. ( )
Ads injected into AI chat on Bing
In March, like most companies that offer free services, Bing began rolling out ads. It was Microsoft's way to generate revenue in between your chats. Unfortunately, this move was like setting out a welcome mat for some not-so-welcome guests.
Ads are being incorporated BingChat. (Microsoft)
Hackers sneak malicious ads into Bing Chat
Here's where things got dicey. Some crafty scammers whipped up ads that looked like legit links for downloading the "Advanced IP Scanner." This tool basically helps a person see all the devices hopping around on their network.
Now, when curious minds turned to Bing Chat for guidance on downloading this tool, instead of being led to the official download site, they were faced with a malicious ad playing dress-up.
Click on it, and you'll find yourself on a fake download site, ready to serve up a hefty portion of malware instead of the handy scanner tool you were after. This twisted ad-venture was like a wolf in sheep's clothing, waiting to pounce the moment you hit "download." We’ve reached out to Microsoft to understand how this issue is being addressed and have not yet received guidance by the time this story was published.
Person finding a malicious ad while using BingChat. ( )
Fake Advanced IP Scanner is malware in disguise
The download offered on this site isn't the authentic and legit Advanced IP Scanner but disguised malware. When downloaded and run, one of the files in the installer connects to an external server to fetch the payload. Although the exact payload hasn't been identified, it's a shady setup that often leads to data theft or allows bad actors to sneak into other accounts or networks.
Computer user clicking on a Security link. ( )
The Bing Chat scam shines a light on the cunning ways scammers are weaving their dark web. So, how to stay safe?
Be wary: Do not trust ads, especially those offering downloads. Even in a friendly chat setting, keep the guard up.
Think before you click: Double-check URLs to ensure they lead to official, reputable sites before hitting that download button.
Have good antivirus software on all your devices: The best way to protect yourself from having your data breached is to install antivirus protection on all your devices. Having good antivirus software on your devices will alert you of any malware in your system that could possibly be downloaded by clicking on the bogus Advanced IP Scanner ad, warn you against clicking on any malicious links in phishing emails and ultimately protect you from being hacked.
Use identity theft protection: If you did click malware and think your personal information has been compromised, you may consider using identity theft protection. Identity theft protection companies can monitor personal information like your home title, Social Security number, phone number, and email address and alert you if it is being sold on the dark web or used to open an account. They can also assist you in freezing your bank and credit card accounts to prevent further unauthorized use by criminals.
Have strong passwords and use 2-factor authentication: Using the same password across multiple platforms will always make you more vulnerable because if one account gets hacked, they all get hacked. And 2-factor authentication is an extra shield preventing hackers from getting into your accounts. Make sure to use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords.
Invest in data removal services: If you want to protect your online privacy and security, you might consider using a removal service that can help you delete your personal data from hundreds of sites and prevent hackers from exploiting your information.
While no service promises to remove all your data from the internet, having a removal service can be effective if you want to constantly monitor and automate the process over a longer period of time.
Kurt's key takeaways
The Bing Chat escapade leaves us with more than a few breadcrumbs to follow. It's a peek into how our digital chit-chats can take a left turn into some shady alleys. And while the tech landscape keeps morphing, the cat-and-mouse game between us and the scam artists gets a new playground.
In this chat-fueled digital age, have you ever clicked on something that took you somewhere you didn't expect? Or bumped into an online scam that left you second-guessing your click? Or have you ever used an AI-powered chatbot? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.
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Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear and gadgets that make life better with his contributions for Fox News & FOX Business beginning mornings on "FOX & Friends." Got a tech question? Get Kurt’s CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea or comment at CyberGuy.com.