Dec 16, 2023 - Technology

Anonymous Sudan hacking group sets sights on ChatGPT

Illustration of a web browser guarded by lasers

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Anonymous Sudan, a politically motivated hacking group, is pledging to keep targeting OpenAI's ChatGPT as part of its campaign against Israel and the country's supporters.

Why it matters: The group has already claimed responsibility for a few ChatGPT outages in the last month — with the latest happening early Thursday morning.

Driving the news: OpenAI said Thursday that it had resolved a major outage that lasted for around 40 minutes, making service "intermittently unavailable," per CNBC.

  • On its Telegram channel, Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility for the attack during the outage.

What they're saying: "We will continue targeting ChatGPT until the genocide support, Tal Broda is fired and ChatGPT stops having dehumanizing views of Palestinians," the group wrote on Telegram.

  • Broda, OpenAI's head of research platform, has made several social media posts in support of Israel during the war with Hamas.

The big picture: Anonymous Sudan — which some experts have suggested could also be a front for pro-Russia group Killnet — is one of many hacking groups that is targeting Israeli organizations as part of the ongoing war.

  • These hacktivist groups have also started going after organizations in allied countries.
  • Around the same time as the most recent ChatGPT outage, Anonymous Sudan also claimed to have targeted the video game Rocket League, which is operated by U.S. company Epic Games.

Threat level: Anonymous Sudan claims to have been targeting ChatGPT by overloading its networks with bots, making the site inaccessible.

  • This attack tactic, known as a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, is Anonymous Sudan's go-to move. The hacking group is unlikely to be breaching OpenAI's internal networks.
  • DDoS attacks are more of a nuisance for users trying to access a service, and they've become more commonplace.

What they're saying: OpenAI did not respond to a request for comment on Anonymous Sudan's claims.

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