The cybercriminal magnet: ChatGPT has become a favourite among scammers

ChatGPT is fast becoming popular among cybercriminals who are easily able to dupe unsuspecting users with the help of the AI-powered tool. Hundreds of newly registered domains and apps containing the term "ChatGPT" have mushroomed in s short span of time.

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OpenAI’s ChatGPT, an AI-based chatbot, has taken the internet by storm. Its ability to compose poetry, write essays for college students, and find bugs in computer code has impressed millions of people around the world. It’s obvious that cybercriminals are already exploiting the success of this AI chatbot to deceive unsuspecting internet users.

Cybersecurity researchers claim that there are hundreds of newly registered domains containing the term “ChatGPT” have mushroomed in s short span of time. Surprisingly, some of them have already been utilized for carrying out malicious activities. Therefore, it clearly indicates that ChatGPT is acting as a Magnet for cybercriminals.

A cybersecurity expert Dominic Alvieri posted on Twitter about his discoveries of fake ChatGPT websites that aim to spread harmful malware and steal the sensitive information of Internet users.

Bleeping Computer first reported that Alveri discovered one such fake ChatGPT website, “chat-gpt-pc.online,” that attempts to lure visitors into downloading ChatGPT as a local application for Windows. Unfortunately, this download actually injects users with the Redline info-stealing malware, which steals users’ sensitive information stored in their web browser. For instance, if a user stores their passwords or credit card information on Google Chrome – which this most of users do – malicious software can easily retrieve and send the data to hackers.

Not only are cybercriminals targeting Windows users with fake ChatGPT downloads, but they are also infiltrating the Google Play Store with these malicious apps. The discoveries made by cybersecurity expert Dominic Alvieri have revealed how these apps use phishing campaigns to steal sensitive user data. Even more concerning is that these fake apps can be found on Google’s first page.

Another report by Cyble revealed over 50 fake ChatGPT apps that are being used to scam unsuspecting victims.

These findings make it clear that scamsters are finding creative ways to exploit the popularity of ChatGPT for their own gain.

In an alarming twist, there is a program named “chatGPT1” which is downloaded and installed on thousands of computers and mobile devices. However, this program does not provide any AI utility or function to the user, despite having a name that suggests otherwise. Instead, it engages in a fraudulent activity known as SMS billing fraud. This fraudulent activity involves subscribing the target to various paid services without their knowledge or consent, by using their phone number to charge them for the services they did not ask for.

Cons of ChatGPT Plus

The ChatGPT Plus, the premium version of ChatGPT, is available at a monthly fee of $20. This version comes with additional features and functions that were not available in the free version, and users can use it without any restrictions.

Fraudsters are taking advantage of the ChatGPT Plus by offering fake, premium content through their apps, which are actually designed to install malware and steal users’ data. Scammers create bogus websites and Facebook pages to promote these fake apps and lure users into downloading a desktop client that infects their devices with malware. 

This is a deceptive and illegal practice commonly used by cybercriminals to make illicit profits by exploiting the vulnerabilities of unsuspecting internet users. 

Here is what you can do:

To use ChatGPT without falling victim to these scams, it’s important to visit the official OpenAI website directly, either through the URL https://chat.openai.com or AI.com. As the AI chatbot continues to attract more users, especially after the recent launch of its paid subscription plan, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and avoid becoming a victim of these fraudulent schemes. 

As of now, there is no official ChatGPT app available anywhere.

Therefore, it is imperative that users exercise extreme caution when using ChatGPT. If you come across any suspicious app or have doubts about its legitimacy on the Google Play Store, you can report it by clicking on the three-dot icon in the top-right corner of the app’s listing page and selecting ‘Report as inappropriate.’ Select ‘Copycat or impersonation‘ as the reason for reporting the app. 

No doubt ChatGPT has gained immense popularity and is considered the most accessible form of artificial intelligence available to the public. However, some experts have raised concerns regarding its potential for misuse and abuse, given the power of its technology. Moreover, there are ethical questions surrounding its use, and regulatory bodies are still grappling with how to monitor and regulate its use. Additionally, there is a concern that some people may overestimate ChatGPT’s intelligence, leading to misunderstandings and even dangerous outcomes. The creator of ChatGPT itself has warned people about the concerning future and strongly recommends regulating its use. Interestingly, the dark side of the the AI-powered tool has already started appearing as users are reportedly getting humiliated and emulated by the tools powered with ChatGPT.  

As ChatGPT has now become “Most Wanted” for cybercriminals, it’s crucial to use this chatbot wisely. While enjoying the benefits of ChatGPT, it’s important to stay alert and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety and security online. With cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, it’s essential to be vigilant and adopt best practices to protect your personal and sensitive information. So, use ChatGPT with care, stay informed, and stay safe in this digital age. 

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