Online scams are the fastest growing type of fraud in the UK. According to UK Finance, the surge is being driven by sophisticated scam operators harnessing social media and messaging platforms to hoodwink victims. Norton Genie is a new tool from one of the most trusted names in internet security. It uses AI to help users decide if texts, emails, or social media messages are risky. We’re going to explain how Norton Genie protects you from scams and fraudsters.
How to get started with Norton Genie
Norton Genie requires the user to upload suspicious emails, texts, and social-media messages to the platform. Norton’s AI system will analyse the upload and give feedback which could help protect you from scams. Above is a screengrab of an email I received offering me a loan.
Norton Genie not only informed me that the email was dodgy, it also pinpointed what type of scam it was.
Like all genies, we need to rub the lamp for them to work. Norton Genie must be fed the suspicious information either via a screenshot, or text input. Both methods appear to work equally well.
Norton Genie also offers sensible advice after the analysis. I uploaded an email that I’d received from American business magnate, Warren Buffett. He hasn’t spoken to me since the incident with a trampoline several years ago, so I was eager to click on the link in his email. Norton Genie scanned the email, told me it was a scam and not from Warren (call me!), before offering to give more help and advice.
Norton Genie uses an AI chatbot to dispense its wisdom. There is a selection of pre-determined questions, but also a free-text box to ask anything. In my test, you’ll notice that its cyber-security advice is sound and reassuring, but its knowledge and appreciation of Liverpool’s mid-80s success in First Division football is woefully lacking.
How does it use AI to detect a scam?
Your text or image submissions are uploaded to the AI engine which powers Norton Genie. The theory is that more data, and particularly data from currently circulating scams, will help to better the hit rate of Norton Genie. Norton says:
As Genie sees more scams, it will get smarter at detecting new threats.
According to Norton’s T&Cs, it will hold on to submitted images for 30 days, text submissions for a year and questions for up to three years. Any evolving AI system requires fresh data in order to learn, and it’s vital for us all to consider this and make our own judgement before we use a product such as Norton Genie.
We also need to remember that Norton Genie’s results will not always be correct. The product acts as a second opinion, which is quite capable of making a mistake. However, a second pair of eyes on a problem is rarely a bad thing, so using Norton Genie is certainly a worthwhile endeavour.
How do I access Norton Genie?
Norton Genie was released at the end of July 2023, and it’s currently in an early access phase. At the moment there’s an app for Apple iPhones (running iOS 14 or newer) and a web portal at genie.norton.com
Although the web-portal displays a graphic stating “Get It On Google Play”, there is currently no Android app.
Is it free?
Currently there is no charge for Norton Genie. I’ll let you make up your own mind about the financial ramifications of user data being used to power an AI machine without recompense.
From a usability perspective, it would be nice for Norton to expand the platform so it’s easier to flag suspicious items. It’s easy to imagine that Norton Genie could become a bolt-on option for Norton’s Internet Security packages.
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