Many business owners demand software featuring artificial intelligence for its productivity capabilities. Some hackers exploit this demand by publishing targeted Facebook advertisements to garner business data, using advanced digital marketing tools for nefarious purposes. Discover the details surrounding the fake AI Facebook ads stealing business data below. 

What the Ads Promise

A report by Trend Micro examined how cybercriminals craft and publish Facebook business profiles for fake marketing agencies and software companies. They then draft and execute advertisements from these convincing business pages. The ads feature AI products, including large learning language models purporting to increase revenue and marketing success exponentially. 

The software products claimed to use Google’s chatbot Bard and another software called Meta AI. Although Google made Bard available in the U.S., Meta AI either doesn’t exist or has yet to launch publicly. The detailed ads featured extensive copy, false figures and percentages, and branded images.  

How Fake AI Facebook Ads Steal Business Data

Fake ads primarily target entrepreneurs, business owners, and other professionals who use AI and similar software to increase productivity and workflow. How exactly do these fake AI ads stealing business data work? Explore the process below.  

Phase 1: Targeted Ad Appears

Facebook’s advertising system allows marketers to create highly targeted ads based on Facebook’s extensive algorithm. If you search for a specific product on one site, you might discover ads from the same brand or similar products on your Facebook feed. The threat actors leverage this feature to ensure their false ads appear in their target audience’s feed. 

Phase 2: Business Rep Clicks Ad

Convincing ads combined with promising marketing and sales statistics look irresistible to even the most cautious business owners. When a business representative sees the ad, they click it. They then navigate to a landing page hosted on a Google website. The page features a download button. 

The business owner or representative clicks the download button, anticipating the promising AI-powered software at the end of the download process. This initiates a cloud-storage app like Dropbox or Google Drive to serve the software to the victim’s device. 

Phase 3: Malware Download Initiates

The host site cleverly displays an overly simple numerical password that the downloader can input for access. This password helps the software bypass the device’s security measures. The victim uses the packaged installer to open the software. 

However, the installer delivers malware rather than anticipated, ground-breaking AI software. The device reboots, completing the installation process. The new malware will then collect and report data to its master, presumably allowing them to use cookies, tokens, and other assets to track the business and any preloaded funds available on Facebook.  

How To Avoid Threats

Although Facebook has taken measures to hinder hackers’ efforts, you might protect your business from fake AI Facebook ads stealing business data using the following tips:

  •  The fake AI ads stealing business data make incredible claims about the product. Products that seem too good to be true usually are. 
  •  Research the products featured. Products with limited or no releases are a red flag. 
  •  Never download products with overly simple keys or passwords.

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