Malicious Google search ads for generative AI services such as OpenAI ChatGPT and Midjourney are used to lure users to sketchy websites as part of the BATLOADER campaign aimed at delivering the RedLine Stealer malware .
“Both AI services are very popular, but lack first-party standalone apps (i.e. users interface with ChatGPT through a web interface, Midjourney uses Discord),” says eSentire. Said in the analysis.
“This void is being exploited by attackers to entice people to create fake web pages promoting fake apps.”
BATLOADER is a loader malware that is propagated by drive-by downloads, where users searching for certain keywords in search engines are presented with fake ads that, when clicked, redirect to a malicious landing page that hosts the malware.
According to eSentire, the installer file includes an executable (ChatGPT.exe or Midjourney.exe) and a PowerShell script (Chat.ps1 or Chat-Ready.ps1) that downloads and loads RedLine Stealer from a remote server. is included.
Once installed, the binaries will use Microsoft Edge. WebView2 To load chat.openai[.]com or www.midjourney[.]com (the canonical ChatGPT and Midjourney URL) in a popup window to avoid red flags.
The attackers used ChatGPT and Midjourney-themed lures to serve malicious ads, ultimately dropping the RedLine Stealer malware, was also highlighted by Trend Micro last week.
This isn’t the first time the operators behind BATLOADER have taken advantage of the AI craze to distribute malware. In March 2023, eSentire detailed a series of similar attacks deployed using ChatGPT lures. Vidal Steeler and Ursniff.
The cybersecurity firm also noted that Google search ad abuse has declined from its peak in early 2023, suggesting the tech giant is taking aggressive steps to curb its abuse.
In January, eSentire tracked the identity of one of the leading malware-as-a-service (MaaS) operators, identifying an individual in Montreal, Canada.Then his second attacker associated with this group was Identified As a Romanian with the alias Jack.