back to article Microsoft Bing Chat pushes malware via bad ads

Microsoft introduced its Bing Chat AI search assistant in February and a month later began serving ads alongside it to help cover costs. However, some of those adverts served by Microsoft's own ad platform have turned out to be malicious. Security outfit Malwarebytes said on Thursday it has identified malvertising – harmful …

  1. Snowy Silver badge
    Joke

    Shocked

    Adverts serving up malware, colour me surprised!

  2. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Bing Chat contains ads as part of the user experience

    Lovely. "User experience" was originally conceived as a term to describe the process of making interfaces clearer and easier to use, so that users could accomplish what they wanted to do in a straightforward, efficient way. I guess in Microsoftland it now means "the user experiences whatever we decide to force on them", because nobody ever thought that their computer use was improved by having ads interrupting them..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bing Chat contains ads as part of the user experience

      You just have to remember who is the user, and who is the product.

      1. navarac Bronze badge

        Re: Bing Chat contains ads as part of the user experience

        Another reason to dump Microsoft and especially "AI".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bing Chat contains ads as part of the user experience

          > and especially "AI".

          How does this story say anything especially about "AI"? The ads being served had nothing to do with "AI" beyond they were appearing on a webpage that was mainly serving as access to Bing Chat, which happens to be "AI".

          May as well say "especially, keep away from chocolate" because bad ads happened to be inserted into webpages mainly serving as a cocoa-based confection comparison service.

          1. navarac Bronze badge

            Re: Bing Chat contains ads as part of the user experience

            "AI" will only make crapping ads on us even easier, FFS.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Bing Chat contains ads as part of the user experience

              > "AI" will only make crapping ads on us even easier, FFS.

              Stop believing what these "AI" peddlers are pushing, FFS!

              This stuff aint magic, you know.

              Doesn't matter how fast you can write ad copy, it won't suddenly make the stuff get to you faster or in more volume. In fact, the only thing that these can do is give you more variety in your ads - so you won't get bored readung exactly the same ones over and over again.

          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Bing Chat contains ads as part of the user experience

            Since chatbot use promotes learned helplessness and discourages critical thinking and research, it makes users more vulnerable to malvertising.

    2. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: Bing Chat contains ads as part of the user experience

      > "User experience" was originally conceived as a term to describe the process of making interfaces clearer and easier to use, so that users could accomplish what they wanted to do in a straightforward, efficient way.

      Really?

      The first time I became aware of the term, let alone its ghastly 2LA "UX"[1], was years after I'd been introduced to the goal of having a UI that was, well, intended for the convenience of the User, not the developer.

      As soon as people started to refer to the User having an "experience" the intent seemed to shift to being as disconnected from aiding the User as every other forced "experience": e.g. instead of going to a Museum to be able to study and learn about some artifacts, the "experience" is all about vapid, badly acted video presentations. Similarly, instead of a web page just being useful & informative, it nowadays has to have an "experience", which curiously involves too much use of badly acted video presentations! Even Open Source project sites: my R'Pi running Birdnet was stuck on a process running something called "streamlit" - new to me, looked it up: oh, it generates sharable webapps and goes well with generative AI (cue video); oh, and it is trusted by IBM, that is nice. How about just bleeping well saying right up front "it can make nice graphs"! Mutter, mutter.

      I'll stick with dealing with issues about UI design & implementation (e.g. every clickable item shows up consistently, getting the framework code to pressure you into providing help & tooltips everywhere (so you can't just forget), the workflow logic being expressed as, well, logic, that can be interrogated (sorry, you can not move onto Y until you have done X, but don't worry, you can come back to that if you wish to do Z meantime). And leave the "UX" to people who like to scribble on those pre-printed pads of a blank iPhone, advertised as the place to "describe their next great app concept"!

      Hmm, what was that? What makes you think the weekend isn't going well? Blasted rain! How can I test the microphone with Birdnet if the birds are all sheltering elsewhere!

      [1] although I like being able to describe one of those failing miserably as a "UXB"!

  3. ChoHag Silver badge
    Windows

    I'll admit.

    This took longer than I expected.

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Build to fail

    Online advertising has always been identify, track, and redirect. Simple as that. Nobody cares where that redirection goes or even how deep it goes. It's unsafe and everyone should run ad blockers.

    The funny part was the 2000 dot-com collapse. Many ad slingers had such long delegation paths that they never ended at a paying business. Multi-million dollar deals spontaneously evaporated and only the exec staff and advertising staff didn't see it coming. Sometimes there were even delegation loops.

  5. that one in the corner Silver badge

    This web page certified by the Soil Association

    > an ad is displayed first before the organic result.

    WTF is an "organic result"?

    Is the alternative to get back a web page that is too salty? Or one that I'm just meant to absorb by osmosis?

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Re: This web page certified by the Soil Association

      Whatever an "organic result" is, I did not find that phrase when I Control-F browser-searched the linked-to article.

      Did Malwarebytes' web page change after this Reg article was posted, was Mr. Claburn looking at some other source when he wrote, or was the Reg article 'written' by a generative ML system?

  6. Jason Hindle

    Kind of underlines the drawback of artificial intelligence

    It’s artificial. Often useful; always superficial. They just need to train those neural networks to spot malware. Typical of Microsoft not to think of that sooner. History, repeating, and all the rest.

  7. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    This proves to all why we have ad-blockers.

    They can't complain about "bad actors" when even Microsoft, on their new flagship product, can't keep the malvertising off.

    Until the sewer is cleaned up (and, in the process, of course, have 95% of it's profit channels blocked) this won't improve.

  8. heyrick Silver badge

    Our content policies prohibit advertising content that is deceptive, fraudulent or that can be harmful to users.

    My content policy prohibits advertising. The parasitic scum can all take a long walk off a short bridge.

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