Why Microsoft Blocked Internal Access To ChatGPT

Microsoft employees who tried to access ChatGPT, the AI-technology from OpenAI, on Thursday afternoon were briefly redirected to an internal notice that said the website was blocked.

It was blocked by Microsoft, but after more than an hour, access was restored.

That's what a person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. An internal blog post to employees cited security concerns. 

The decision to block ChatGPT was made and communicated by the information-technology (IT) department, but management was caught by surprise by the move and later reversed the decision, the person said.

Temporary, yes, but the incident highlights security concerns about the services that have prompted other companies such as Apple this year to restrict the use of ChatGPT and other external AI tools for some employees. JPMorgan Chase and Verizon also are among companies that have blocked internal access to the viral chatbot. 



Microsoft said the brief restrictions were in error, but on November 8, just a day prior, OpenAI experienced an outage across ChatGPT and the application programming interface.

The outages, OpenAI suspects, were caused by a distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attack—a malicious attempt to disrupt access to a targeted server, service, or network by overwhelming it—after identifying abnormal traffic patterns and periodic outages. A group that goes by the name Anonymous Sudan claimed responsibility.

In a Telegram post, the hackers pointed to ChatGPT as having “a general biasness towards Israel and against Palestine.”

Anonymous Sudan is the same pro-Russian group that reportedly launched a DDos attack against Israel’s Red Alert app, which provides real-time rocket information to citizens.

Cybersecurity firm Group-IB also found that AnonGhostgroup had tampered with the application. POLITICO confirmed reporting by Group-IB that the app was removed from the Google Play store.

The Telegram post accused OpenAI of cooperating with the “occupation state of Israel,” and that “AI is now being used in the development of weapons and by intelligence agencies like Mossad.”

While Anonymous Sudan added that ChatGPT has a general bias toward Israel and against Palestine, referencing posts in X (the group called the platform Twitter), it also wrote that it will target any American company.

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