Fake ChatGPT apps that spread malware and how to avoid them

Fake ChatGPT apps that spread malware and how to avoid them

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a few months, you know ChatGPT. It’s an AI-powered chatbot that can write anything from speech to fictional TV episodes of your favorite series. Tap or click here for all the details.

ChatGPT was launched in November 2022 and within a few months it had more than 100 million users. You know what that kind of popularity means. Yes, cybercriminals jump around and create fake apps to find victims looking for ChatGPT tools.

Read on to learn how criminals target you with malware and surefire ways to stay protected.

Criminals use fake ChatGPT apps to spread malware

As ChatGPT grew in popularity, so did the number of fake ChatGPT apps being developed and distributed. These fake apps are often designed to hide malware that can infect your devices and steal sensitive information.

Security researcher Dominic Alvieri discovered several fake ChatGPT apps and tweeted some of his findings. Here is an example.

You don’t just have to worry about app stores. Security company Cyble has blogged about fake social media sites and websites created to steal your credentials. The company noticed some Facebook pages that faked ChatGPT to appear official.

Cyble even came across a fake payment portal that allegedly accepted payment to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus. It looks like this:

Source: Cyble

The web address of the fake payment portal is pay.chatgptftw.com. But don’t buy it! If you enter payment details on this site, you are giving away confidential bank details to criminals.

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Due to the popularity of ChatGPT, you should be careful when looking for related products. Although there are official ChatGPT collaborations, such as Google adding it to the Student program, you need to be vigilant to avoid fakes. Fortunately, there are red flags to look out for.

How to avoid falling victim to fake ChatGPT apps and websites

When trying any app, keep the following in mind:

  • Stick to official sources: One of the first things to look at when spotting a fake app is the source of the app. If you download an app from a third-party website or an untrusted source, it is more likely to be infected with fake or malware.
    • It is best to always download apps from official app stores like Google Play Store or Apple App Store as they have strict security measures to prevent fake or malicious apps from being published. Even though some malicious apps bypass security, it is safer to use official app stores.
  • Pay attention to the reviews: Another way to spot a fake app is to look at its description and reviews. If the application contains grammatical or spelling errors, it may indicate that the application is fake.
    • Also consider it a warning sign if the app has very few or only positive reviews. Genuine apps usually have a mix of positive and negative reviews, while fake apps have only positive or obviously fake reviews.
  • Here’s the key to avoiding fake ChatGPT apps: Currently, ChatGPT is exclusively an online tool located at chat.openai.com. If you find an ad, online search result, Facebook page or website that claims to offer mobile or desktop apps for ChatGPT, they are scams!
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