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Beware of Malware-Distributing Sites when Scouting for AI Tools


Malicious actors have been taking advantage of the popularity of generative AI services like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Midjourney, using deceptive Google Search ads to redirect users to fraudulent websites. This malicious campaign, known as BATLOADER, aims to deliver the RedLine Stealer malware to unsuspecting users. Recent analysis by cybersecurity firm eSentire has shed light on this concerning trend, emphasizing the need for caution when seeking AI applications online.

Exploiting the Gap in Standalone AI Apps:

eSentire’s analysis reveals that both ChatGPT and Midjourney, despite their popularity, lack first-party standalone applications. Users currently interact with ChatGPT through its web interface, while Midjourney relies on Discord. Threat actors have exploited this gap, redirecting AI app-seekers to counterfeit web pages promoting fake applications.

BATLOADER: A Drive-by Download Campaign:

BATLOADER employs a loader malware distributed through drive-by downloads. Unsuspecting users searching for specific keywords on search engines are shown deceptive ads that, when clicked, redirect them to rogue landing pages hosting malware. The installer file contains executable files (ChatGPT.exe or midjourney.exe) and PowerShell scripts (Chat.ps1 or Chat-Ready.ps1) responsible for downloading and loading the RedLine Stealer malware from a remote server.

Sneaky Execution and Redirection:

To avoid raising suspicion, the installed binary leverages Microsoft Edge WebView2 to load the legitimate ChatGPT ( or Midjourney ( URLs in a pop-up window. This tactic aims to deceive users and prevent detection.

Previous Exploitations and Google’s Response:

Trend Micro previously highlighted the use of ChatGPT and Midjourney-themed lures by BATLOADER to serve malicious ads and distribute malware. However, eSentire notes that the abuse of Google Search ads has declined since early 2023, suggesting that Google has taken active measures to address and curb its exploitation.

Ongoing Vigilance and Phishing Campaigns:

The discovery of BATLOADER’s tactics comes shortly after the revelation of the OCX#HARVESTER phishing campaign, targeting the cryptocurrency sector with More_eggs (aka Golden Chickens), a JavaScript downloader. These incidents underscore the importance of staying vigilant and adopting robust security measures to protect against evolving threats.

Identifying Threat Actors:

In a previous investigation, eSentire traced one of the key operators of this malware campaign to an individual located in Montreal, Canada. Additionally, a Romanian national known as Jack has been identified as another threat actor associated with the group.


As the popularity of AI services continues to rise, users must be cautious of malicious actors leveraging deceptive ads to distribute malware. It is crucial to rely on trusted sources, exercise caution when clicking on ads, and employ up-to-date security measures to mitigate the risks posed by such campaigns. Ongoing collaboration between cybersecurity firms and tech giants like Google is essential to combatting these threats and ensuring a safer online environment.

Creative Mind

Hello Dope SOUL'S, I'm the founder of, a self-taught blogger with a passion for technology. My journey began with a fascination for tech's power to shape our world, leading me to self-learn computer science and engineering. After years as a self-taught software engineer, I realized my true calling lay in sharing knowledge. This inspired, where I provide valuable insights on tech trends, gadgets, and software. As a self-taught blogger, I explore new tech, analyze trends, and offer honest reviews. I believe in demystifying complex subjects for both tech enthusiasts and beginners. Beyond blogging, I actively engage in tech conferences, collaborating with industry pros to ensure my content stays accurate and relevant. is a platform dedicated to sharing knowledge, connecting with the tech community, and helping readers navigate the ever-evolving tech landscape. Thanks for joining this journey. Stay curious and tech-savvy! Best regards, [Creative Mind] Founder,

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