Home Cyber Security A Bard’s Story – how faux AI bots attempt to set up malware

A Bard’s Story – how faux AI bots attempt to set up malware

A Bard’s Story – how faux AI bots attempt to set up malware


The AI race is on! It’s straightforward to lose monitor of the most recent developments and potentialities, and but everybody desires to see firsthand what the hype is about. Heydays for cybercriminals!

A Bard’s Tale – how fake AI bots try to install malware

My first “huh?” second was that the shortened URL didn’t embrace any Google reference however fairly a hyperlink to rebrand.ly – a service with no apparent ties to Google and with places of work in Dublin, Eire. It appeared odd for an web large to be utilizing the providers of one other supplier and my suspicion was triggered. I then re-read the textual content of the commercial and though I’m not a local English speaker, I discovered it laborious to consider that nobody appeared to have proofread that fairly complicated content material.

Faux advert as proven on Fb

Did you say “Bots”?

I then proceeded to verify the feedback part beneath the advert in pursuit of hints in the direction of doable fraud, however to my (little) shock, all of them appeared to like “the app”. Referring to simply “the app” appeared fairly common, whereas others praised the “AI”, by no means mentioning Google in any respect. Some have been giving “a 5 Star rating” (sic) – in a remark part?! In some way, miraculously, it appeared like everybody within the feedback had downloaded and examined the app on the identical time, solely to be writing their feedback at precisely the identical second – which in my case was “6 hours ago” – solely including as much as my suspicions.

All feedback written on the identical time?

Following the path

I selected to fireside up my protected surroundings to analyze just a little additional. First, I checked the rebrandly-Hyperlink at VirusTotalwhich was flagged as malicious by 3/90 distributors. This can be a first indicator, however no proof in any respect, as this may occasionally even be a false constructive.

So I went for it and opened the hyperlink in an nameless browser window – which turned out to be an ideal thought for the reason that hyperlink led to an precise Google web site – hxxps://websites.google.com/view/12345328?fbclid=IwAR2V87sG77nklWVC1tLS-R-fjrL_nNNDhjtDorxKHkN56g8oNVV09Edjgwo  

Had I been accessing the positioning whereas logged-in to my browser, particularly with my Google account in Chrome, the criminals would have doubtlessly gained far more details about me than I’d needed!

Whereas the positioning is hosted at Google’s cloud infrastructure, the content material is, in fact, not associated nor supplied by Google themselves. It additionally provides away a couple of extra hints that one thing shady is about to occur, right here. First, let’s have a look at the web page title on the browser tab: “Trang chủ” (Vietnamese for “home page”). Moreover, it appears apparent, as soon as once more, that the textual content on the positioning hasn’t been created by a local or a proficient English speaker. This means that the attackers behind this marketing campaign are primarily based in Vietnam, however in fact, on no account that is enough proof.

The “Download” button then results in hxxps://drive.google.com/u/0/uc?id=1sn-Lzt-2vJ_i-6I9lkbGgr_-IN2TVcA-&export=obtain – a private Google Drive house, attempting to create the phantasm the marketing campaign was an official providing by Google, although it merely was an affordable imply of distribution for the attackers.

The obtain web page

There’s no intelligence, not even synthetic

The file downloaded is a RAR archive – GoogleAIUpdata.rar. Scanning it or importing it to VirusTotal doesn’t result in something helpful as it’s “protected” with a password. One would possibly surprise why if it was a real obtain from Google, you say? Nicely, this password “protection” acts solely as a simple means for the attackers to get previous malware scanners – nothing else. In case you open the archive (with out unpacking it!) with the password “789” as supplied on the obtain web page, you’ll see that the archive accommodates an installer within the MSI (Microsoft Software Installer) format – Google Bard AI setup.msi. Fortunately, unarchiving instruments like 7-zip present the choice to create SHA-256 (and different) file hashes, which then could be looked for on VirusTotal, once more, with out the necessity to unpack a doubtlessly dangerous file.

Wanting up the file gives the final proof that it is a malicious marketing campaign. 26/59 distributors flag the file as maliciouswith ESET freely giving just a little extra data within the detection identify. JS/ExtenBro.Agent.EK is a JavaScript agent which can attempt to alter your (browser) settings, stopping entry to sure safety vendor websites to eliminate it after an an infection, however largely it serves as Adwaredisplaying annoying and undesirable adverts on principally any web site you attempt to entry and promising the attackers cash with every advert displayed on a sufferer’s machine.


On the time of writing the marketing campaign was nonetheless seen in numerous variations, however I reported it and can most actually not be the one one doing so. Sadly, it appears that evidently this is perhaps a much bigger marketing campaign as I’ve now encountered different examples as “meta AI” or different faux “Google AI” adverts. In any case, this marketing campaign could be thought-about a determined try and make a “quick buck” out of the present and ongoing AI hype, spreading ever so annoying Adware to make much more cash. On no account this has been a complicated marketing campaign by any means. However the unhappy actuality is that folks will fall for such scams within the hopes of getting their arms on the most recent applied sciences. One other unhappy reality is that we will not depend on tech giants reminiscent of Fb and Google to supply 100% clear and protected environments.

I hope this weblog put up helps just a little in recognizing the chances and hints and methods to examine a possible rip-off or malware assault with out the necessity for costly instruments, proper from residence.

Date: 2023-08-21 05:31:41

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