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Bot Must Stop ‘Dehumanizing’ Palestinians. | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


ChatGPT’s recent outage may have resulted from a targeted attack by hacker group Anonymous Sudan.
Jonathan Raa/Getty Images

  • Hacking group Anonymous Sudan has claimed responsibility for recent ChatGPT outages.
  • The group said it will continue until ChatGPT “stops having dehumanizing views of Palestinians” on Telegram.
  • The group may also be related to the pro-Russian hacking group Killnet.

A hacking group called Anonymous Sudan is claiming responsibility for some of the ChatGPT outages that have occurred in recent months.

The bot was down for about 40 minutes on December 13, marking the second major outage since it was down for more than 90 minutes on November 8, according to its website. ChatGPT has also had other issues including periodic outages and elevated error rates during this time. 

OpenAI did not provide a reason for the recent major outage, but Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility saying it would “continue targeting ChatGPT until the genocide supporter, Tal Broda is fired and ChatGPT stops having dehumanizing views of Palestinians,” on its channel on the messaging platform Telegram on December 13. 

Tal Broda, OpenAI’s head of research platform, did not respond to BI’s request for a comment.

But the group says its cyberattacks on OpenAI go beyond its perception of Broda’s personal views. 

Anonymous Sudan said it targeted OpenAI and ChatGPT due to the company’s cooperation with the “occupation state” of Israel and CEO Sam Altman’s relationship with Israel, in a post on Telegram claiming responsibility for the November 8 ChatGPT outage. Anonymous Sudan also noted that ChatGPT was biased against Palestine, and in favor of Israel, and that Israel could use AI to develop weapons that may “further oppress” Palestinians, in the post. 

OpenAI did not respond to BI’s request for a comment on the most recent attack, but did say that the November 8 outage was caused by a targeted attack, according to CNBC. Anonymous Sudan relies on a technique called denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks which are used to flood a target service with synthetically generated traffic. Though it’s unlikely that OpenAI’s internal networks were breached, according to Axios. 

US companies: It might be worth checking Telegram. 

While Anonymous Sudan has launched a wave of attacks across the world in recent months, it’s not clear whether its motivations are to combat Islamophobia, target what it sees as pro-Israel organizations, or something else entirely.

The group has taken responsibility for a series of attacks in Europe that were “apparently in retaliation for perceived anti-Islamic activity,” according to the cybersecurity news site Dark Reading. 

But some cybersecurity experts contend that the group is specifically focused on Sudan where 90% of the country’s population identifies as Muslim, according to a US State Department report on Sudan. 

“Since establishing their official Telegram channel on January 18th 2023 Anonymous Sudan regularly post their intent to attack those who target Sudan,” Aaron Hambleton, the director for Middle East & Africa for cybersecurity company SecurityHQ said in a post on the company’s website.

There’s a third possibility, though, which is that Anonymous Sudan is linked to a pro-Russian hacking group called Killnet which is known for DDoS attacks. It’s one of several hacking groups targeting Israeli organizations during the current war, according to Axios. Killnet also threatened to overload Eurovision’s online voting system by sending billions of requests to it during its 2022 contest. 

The crucial point for US companies here is that the group said it would target “any American company,” in its Telegram post taking responsibility for the recent outage at OpenAI.

Anonymous Sudan also took responsibility for an attack on the video game Rocket League, under the US company Epic Games, the day after the OpenAI outage, per Telegram. The group also took X down for around two hours in August reportedly noting on Telegram at the time: “Make our message reach to Elon Musk: ‘Open Starlink in Sudan,'” according to the BBC.

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