MetAI Assistant Adware Poses Security Risk
During our examination of fraudulent websites, we stumbled upon a webpage promoting an installer that contains the MetAI assistant browser extension, which is advertised as a tool for utilizing OpenAI (presumably the ChatGPT chatbot from OpenAI) on the Facebook platform. However, our analysis of this extension disclosed that it operates as adware, meaning that it displays ads and harvests sensitive information.
Adware, which stands for advertising-supported software, is created to allow advertisements to be placed on visited websites and/or other interfaces. The ads shown often promote online scams, untrustworthy/harmful software, and malware. Some ads are even capable of initiating stealthy downloads or installations when clicked.
It is important to note that while legitimate products/services can be advertised through these ads, they are highly unlikely to be endorsed in this way by their real developers. It is more likely that these promotions are carried out by scammers who exploit the affiliate programs' content to obtain illegitimate commissions.
In some cases, the adware may not show any ads if the browser or user location are not what is expected by a targeted campaign. However, even if MetAI assistant does not run intrusive ad campaigns, its presence is already a threat to device and user security.
Moreover, this malicious browser extension has data-tracking capabilities. MetAI assistant requests permission to access Facebook data, which may include a variety of sensitive and personally identifiable information. It is possible that its data collection may not be limited to Facebook alone.
Adware generally gathers browsing and search engine histories, bookmarks, log-in credentials (usernames and passwords), credit card numbers, and other data. The collected data may be monetized through sale to third parties or otherwise exploited for profit.
How Can Adware Expose Your System to Further Threats Online?
Adware can expose your system to further threats in several ways. Firstly, adware is often bundled with other malware such as Trojans, spyware, and ransomware, which can be installed silently on your system without your knowledge.
Secondly, adware may display pop-up ads or redirect you to malicious websites that contain malware or scams, which can lead to the download and installation of malware.
Thirdly, adware can collect sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, which can be used for identity theft or fraud. This information can also be sold to third-parties or used to target you with more personalized and convincing phishing attacks. Finally, adware can slow down your system, cause crashes, and create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by other malware.
Therefore, it is important to remove adware as soon as possible to prevent it from exposing your system to further threats.