Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning , Next-Generation Technologies & Secure Development

OpenAI Did Not Disclose 2023 Breach to Feds, Public: Report

Hacker Had Unauthorized Access to Data Related to Designs for New AI Use Cases
OpenAI Did Not Disclose 2023 Breach to Feds, Public: Report
OpenAI reportedly did not disclose a 2023 hack into its internal messaging systems. (Image: Shutterstock)

A hacker reportedly stole information on OpenAI's new technologies last year by breaking into the company's internal messaging systems.

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The messages from a companywide meeting in April last year had employees discussing details of new artificial intelligence technologies, The New York Times reported, citing unnamed sources. The hacker did not access systems that were housing or building OpenAI applications, it said.

OpenAI did not respond to a request for comment.

The company did not report the breach to federal law enforcement or make the news public, as it believed no customer information had been stolen. It did not consider the event a national security threat, pegging the hacker to be a private individual with no links to nation-state attackers.

Not all employees were reportedly content with the explanation. The incident raised concerns about OpenAI's seriousness about cybersecurity and the lack of it leading to adversary nations such as China to potentially steal AI information.

OpenAI in May said it disrupted five covert influence operations, including some from China and Russia, that attempted to use its artificial intelligence services for "deceptive activity" (see: OpenAI Disrupts AI-Deployed Influence Operations.)

Leopold Aschenbrenner, an OpenAI technical program manager whose role involves ensuring that future AI technology causes no serious harm, reportedly sent a memo to the company’s board of directors after the breach, arguing that the company was not doing enough to secure its data from adversaries like the Chinese government. He added that if a threat actor breached the company's systems, OpenAI's security would not be strong enough to protect against theft.

OpenAI allegedly dismissed Aschenbrenner for leaking information, with the former employee arguing that his firing was politically motivated. The company denied the allegations, with an OpenAI spokesperson telling the newspaper that it "share(s) his commitment to building safe AGI," but disagreed with claims about the "characterizations of our security, notably this incident, which we addressed and shared with our board before he joined the company."

About the Author

Rashmi Ramesh

Rashmi Ramesh

Assistant Editor, Global News Desk, ISMG

Ramesh has seven years of experience writing and editing stories on finance, enterprise and consumer technology, and diversity and inclusion. She has previously worked at formerly News Corp-owned TechCircle, business daily The Economic Times and The New Indian Express.

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