Cyber lovers warned beware of flirtatious robots

Predatory program can attract 10 partners in 30 minutes

Internet users are being warned about a new malware trend involving the use of natural language dialogue systems that are already deployed within gaming technologies.

The software conducts fully automated flirtatious conversations in a bid to collect personal data from those seeking relationships online.

Developed in Russia, the new software is known as CyberLover and has been uncovered by security vendor PC Tools.

CyberLover can be found in chat-rooms and dating sites trying to lure victims into sharing their identity or visiting Web sites with malicious content.

According to its creators, CyberLover can establish a new relationship with up to 10 partners in just 30 minutes and its victims cannot distinguish it from a human being.

PC Tools is concerned about the program's ability to mimic human behaviour during online interactions and urges Internet users to beware of this new breed of software that can easily be used for malicious purposes.

The company's senior malware analyst, Sergei Shevchenko, said the concept behind this software could be the catalyst for a dangerous new trend in malware evolution.

"As a tool that can be used by hackers to conduct identity fraud, CyberLover demonstrates an unprecedented level of social engineering," he said.

"It employs highly intelligent and customised dialogue to target users of social networking systems. Internet users today are generally aware of the dangers of opening suspicious attachments and visiting unusual URLs, but CyberLover employs a new technique that is unheard of; that's what makes it particularly dangerous."

Shevchenko said CyberLover has been designed as a bot [robot] that lures victims automatically, without human intervention.

"If it's spawned in multiple instances on multiple servers, the number of potential victims could be very substantial," he added.

According to PC Tools researchers, the CyberLover software: offers a variety of profiles ranging from "romantic lover" to "sexual predator"; uses a series of easily configurable "dialogue scenarios" with preprogrammed questions and discussion topics; is designed to recognise the responses of chat-room users to tailor its interaction accordingly; compiles a detailed report on every person it meets and submits then to a remote source - the reports contain confidential information that the victim has shared with the bot, which can include the victim's name, contact details and personal photo(s).

The predatory program invites victims to visit a "personal" Web site or blog which could in fact be a fake page used to automatically infect visitors with malware.

To date, CyberLover is predominantly targetting Russian Web sites but PC Tools expects the program could make its way down under very soon.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sandra Rossi

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?