Just as Big Tech is falling over itself to convince us we can trust its AI chatbots, malicious ads have begun appearing in Bing Chat results, potentially exposing users to malware and other cybersecurity threats.
In March, Microsoft began including ads in Bing Chat conversations and responses. As could be expected, this move has encouraged bad actors to purchase advertisements that mislead unsuspecting users into downloading malware.
As detailed in a Malwarebytes blog post picked up by Bleeping Computer, Malwarebytes identified ads masquerading as download sites for the popular Advanced IP Scanner app used by systems administrators, as well as MyCase, utilized by legal professionals.
If you asked Bing Chat how to download these apps, some of the links offered were ads that lead users to counterfeit websites designed to mimic the genuine Advanced IP Scanner and MyCase download pages.
To make matters worse, these promoted ads are not easily identifiable unless you hover over the link, amplifying the chances of users inadvertently clicking on these deceptive "malvertisements."
Given that Bing Chat presents results conversationally, it's understandable that some users might be more inclined to trust its outcomes than a straightforward list of search results with distinctly labeled ads.
Earlier this year, the FBI even advocated for using adblockers to counteract malicious search engine advertising. Nonetheless, it's also advisable to always inspect URLs for any suspicious elements before clicking, which can spare you significant trouble.