By Ankita Chakravarti: If you have installed any app on your phone claiming to be a ChatGPT App, you should uninstall it right away. That app is fake but only today OpenAI has announced that it has launched an app for iOS and that the Android users will also get a ChatGPT app soon. So this proves that every app that was present on the app was fake, created by scammers with an intention to dupe them. And now even a cybersecurity website has also claimed that thousands of ChatGPT apps are floating on the internet are duping users and making thousands of dollars.
A new report showed that some apps are tricking people and making a lot of money by overcharging them. These apps use a technology called ChatGPT to create chatbots. The cybersecurity company Sophos found many free apps on Google Play and the Apple App Store that look like ChatGPT but don’t do much and have a lot of annoying ads. They make people subscribe to expensive plans without realizing it.
Sophos called these apps “fleeceware” because they try to take advantage of users. They keep showing ads until people give in and sign up for expensive subscriptions.
Sophos’ Principal Threat Researcher, Sean Gallagher, commented, “With the current surge of interest in AI and chatbots, users are increasingly resorting to the Apple App and Google Play Stores to download anything that resembles ChatGPT. These fraudulent apps take advantage of this trend, luring users into subscribing through aggressive advertising tactics.”
The report focused on investigating five of these fleeceware apps that claimed to be based on ChatGPT’s algorithm. For instance, one app named “Chat GBT” shamelessly exploited ChatGPT’s name to elevate its rankings on Google Play and the App Store. While OpenAI offers fundamental ChatGPT functionality free of charge online, these fraudulent apps charged users anywhere between $10 per month to $70 per year.
The iOS version of “Chat GBT,” known as Ask AI Assistant, followed a three-day trial period and subsequently charged users $6 per week, amounting to a staggering $312 per year. In March alone, this devious tactic enabled the developers to accumulate $10,000 in revenue. Another app resembling fleeceware, called Genie, convinced users to subscribe for a weekly fee of $7 or an annual fee of $70, yielding an impressive $1 million in the preceding month.
“While a few of the ChatGPT fleeceware apps mentioned in this report have already been removed, new ones continue to emerge, and it is likely that more will appear. The most effective defense is awareness. Users must acknowledge the existence of these apps and exercise caution by thoroughly reading the subscription details before committing,” advised Gallagher.