OpenAI, the research organization behind the development of artificial intelligence models such as GPT-3 and DALL·E, has been experiencing “periodic outages” due to DDoS attacks targeting its API and ChatGPT services within the last 24 hours.
DDoS attacks are malicious attempts to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. DDoS attacks are carried out with networks of compromised devices, such as computers and IoT devices, that have been infected with malware and can be controlled remotely by an attacker. These devices, also known as bots or zombies, form a botnet that can send requests to the target’s IP address, potentially causing the target to become overloaded and unable to serve legitimate traffic.
OpenAI’s API and ChatGPT services are popular platforms for accessing and interacting with the latest AI models developed by OpenAI. The API provides a general-purpose “text in, text out” interface, allowing users to try various natural language tasks such as text generation, summarization, translation, and question answering. ChatGPT is a chatbot that interacts in a conversational way, using a model trained with reinforcement learning from human feedback. ChatGPT can answer questions, converse on a variety of topics, and generate creative writing pieces.
According to OpenAI, the DDoS attacks have been affecting the availability and performance of its API and ChatGPT services since yesterday. The company said that it is working hard to mitigate the attacks and restore the services as soon as possible. However, it did not provide any details on the source or motive of the attacks, or the extent of the damage caused by them.
DDoS attacks are not uncommon in the Internet world, and many websites and services have been targeted by them in the past. Some of the reasons for launching DDoS attacks include revenge, blackmail, hacktivism, or simply causing chaos. Some of the largest DDoS attacks in history have reached peak volumes of over 2 Tb/s, affecting major platforms such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Cloudflare.
To defend against DDoS attacks, there are various strategies and techniques that can be employed, such as filtering, rate limiting, caching, load balancing, and using distributed architectures. However, DDoS attacks are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, requiring constant vigilance and adaptation from the defender.
OpenAI is not the first AI-related organization to face DDoS attacks. In 2020, the Allen Institute for AI, which runs the Semantic Scholar academic search engine, was hit by a DDoS attack that disrupted its service for several hours. The attack was later claimed by a hacker group called PhantomGhost, who said they were protesting against the use of AI for military purposes.
It is unclear whether the DDoS attacks against OpenAI have a similar political agenda, or are motivated by other reasons. Regardless, the attacks highlight the vulnerability and importance of AI services in the modern world, and the need for more robust and resilient systems to protect them.