Attempted Malware Distribution by Fake Midjourney Facebook Page Targeted Over a Million Individuals

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Title: The Exploitation of Generative AI Tools by Cybercriminals: A Growing Threat


In today’s digital landscape, cybercrime has reached unprecedented levels of sophistication. One of the latest trends observed is the exploitation of generative AI tools by cybercriminals to promote and distribute malware. This alarming discovery was highlighted in Bitdefender’s recent report. Cybercriminals are leveraging Facebook pages with millions of unsuspecting subscribers to launch their malicious campaigns. This article aims to delve deeper into this emerging threat, examining the modus operandi of these hackers and providing insights into the potential consequences for individuals and organizations.

The Rise of Generative AI Tools and Their Vulnerabilities

Generative AI tools, such as Midjourney, DALL-E, and ChatGPT, have gained immense popularity due to their ability to create unique and realistic content. These tools, fueled by AI technologies, pave the way for innovative applications across various industries. However, their increasing prominence has also made them an attractive target for cybercriminals seeking to exploit unsuspecting users.

Exploitative Tactics on Facebook

Bitdefender’s research shed light on the recent discovery of a Facebook page with over a million subscribers that was being used to distribute the Rilide infostealer. The hackers’ initial approach involved identifying a vulnerable page, taking control of it, and subsequently renaming it to Midjourney. Through aggressive paid advertising, they garnered a substantial subscriber base. However, their true intentions were revealed when their page was eventually shutdown.

In a parallel effort, the fraudsters developed a website that mirrored the appearance of the legitimate generative AI tool, Midjourney. This website offered a downloadable version of the tool, a characteristic that is non-existent in actual generative AI tools. Users who were tempted by the promise of a downloadable version unknowingly downloaded the Rilide v4 infostealer instead. This malware posed as a Google Translate extension, allowing it to operate undetected and gain unauthorized access to sensitive user data.

Victim Demographics and Geographic Distribution

During their investigation, Bitdefender found that the majority of victims were middle-aged men between the ages of 25 and 55, predominantly located in European countries. The countries most impacted included Germany, Poland, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Romania, and Sweden. This targeting suggests that cybercriminals are focusing their efforts on regions with larger Internet user populations and potentially higher financial gain.

The Wider Threat Landscape

While the case of Midjourney is one example, other generative AI tools like ChatGPT, SORA, and DALL-E are equally susceptible to exploitation. The concerning aspect is that cybercriminals have the ability to create new malicious pages on Facebook and other platforms daily, bypassing security measures. This underlines the need for increased vigilance among users and a thorough understanding of the tools they choose to interact with.

Protecting Against Generative AI Tool Exploitation

As the threat of generative AI tool exploitation continues to grow, it is crucial for users to arm themselves with knowledge to safeguard their digital presence. By taking proactive steps, individuals and organizations can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to these malicious campaigns.

1. Awareness and Education:
Users should familiarize themselves with the legitimate versions of popular generative AI tools. Understanding their characteristics, availability, and limitations helps identify fraudulent claims made by cybercriminals.

2. Verify the Source:
Before engaging with any generative AI tool, users must verify the authenticity of the source. Official websites, verified social media handles, and trusted app marketplaces are reliable sources to download or access these tools. Avoid downloading applications from unfamiliar or sketchy websites.

3. Due Diligence:
Conduct comprehensive research before using any generative AI tool. User reviews, feedback from reputable sources, and online forums can provide valuable insights into potential risks associated with a particular tool.

4. Security Software:
Keeping security software up to date is crucial for protecting against malware attacks. Regularly scan devices for malware and ensure that firewalls and antivirus software are in place.

5. Security Awareness:
Educate and train employees and stakeholders about the risks associated with generative AI tools and how to recognize potentially harmful content or websites. Regularly remind them of best practices for online security.


The emerging trend of cybercriminals exploiting generative AI tools poses a significant threat to individuals and organizations alike. The ability of hackers to manipulate the popularity and functionality of these tools highlights the need for increased vigilance and education among users. By following the recommended steps and adopting a proactive approach, users can mitigate the risk of falling victim to malware and protect their digital lives. Cybersecurity professionals and technology companies must continue to collaborate, developing advanced techniques to counter these evolving threats and safeguard the integrity of generative AI tools.

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