OpenAI, the creator of the AI chatbot ChatGPT, encountered several service disruptions on Wednesday, raising concerns about a potential cyberattack. The platform, which had just recovered from a significant outage earlier that day, faced intermittent failures late into the evening.
Periodic outages and suspected DDoS attack
According to a statement on OpenAI’s service status page early Thursday, both ChatGPT and its API services, crucial for developers, experienced “periodic outages.” The company suggests these interruptions may be due to “an abnormal traffic pattern” indicative of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. This type of cyberattack aims to inundate an online service with excessive requests, overwhelming its capacity to respond.
Ongoing efforts to mitigate issues
OpenAI confirmed it is actively working to counteract this disruption. However, as of the publishing time, these issues had persisted for over six hours. Data from Downdetector, a service tracking outages based on user reports, indicates users experienced some level of difficulty accessing the AI platform. The severity of these issues, however, appears less extensive than the major disruption faced earlier.
Background of recent disruptions
The AI service had earlier faced a major outage lasting nearly two hours on Wednesday, with users receiving a message stating, “ChatGPT is at capacity right now.” OpenAI’s status page acknowledged “errors impacting all services,” but a solution was implemented. The platform also experienced a partial outage on Tuesday night. Concurrently, Anthropic, a competitor of OpenAI, reported problems with its Claude chatbot, though it remains unclear if there’s any connection to OpenAI’s issues.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s response
Sam Altman attributed the outage to a significant surge in interest following the unveiling of new features on Monday. Altman acknowledged on Twitter: “Usage of our new features from devday is far outpacing our expectations… there will likely be service instability in the short term due to load. Sorry :/”