Beware: Mobile Malware Rides the AI Wave on Google Play and Apple App Store

Recently, generative AI and chatbots have become popular in the tech industry. Unfortunately, malware makers have taken advantage of this trend and infiltrated both the Google Play and Apple App Store. According to Sophos, a cybersecurity company, there has been an increase in mobile apps on these platforms that falsely claim to connect users to the AI chatbot ChatGPT by Open AI. While the original ChatGPT is free, these deceptive apps offer a free trial and then try to charge exorbitant subscription fees. This type of mobile malware has been categorized as “fleeceware” due to its deceptive behavior.

Fleeceware, the type of mobile malware discussed, is not a new phenomenon and has been around since 2020. Examples of fleeceware include services that can be obtained for free or at a very low cost, such as QR and barcode readers. Google and Apple introduced guidelines in the past to combat fleece are in their app stores. However, fleeceware has evolved over time, not only charging high subscription fees but also limiting functionality if users refuse to pay. Unlike ransomware, fleeceware doesn’t directly extort money or access sensitive data, which makes it harder to detect and recognize as a threat.

If you’re interested in exploring generative AI, there are three options available for free and easy access. One option is OpenAI’s ChatGPT, as mentioned earlier. Microsoft’s Bing AI and Google’s Bard are the other two avenues, both of which have recently become accessible without requiring signup. These platforms provide opportunities for users to engage with generative AI and have fun exploring its capabilities



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