"It was clearly other people's contact information."

That's Bad

OpenAI's ChatGPT was down for some time yesterday — exactly how long is a little blurry, as reports varied from a few hours to almost the full day as the company worked to fix a glitch that made user chat histories publicly visible.

As anyone who's used the viral app knows, ChatGPT stores users' past conversations in a helpful sidebar. But it seems that after users logged into the app yesterday to discover histories packed with the titles of conversations that weren't their own, OpenAI decided that its best move was to shut the app down completely while it worked to fix the issue.

As confirmed by OpenAI in a statement to Bloomberg, the app was brought back online late last night — albeit without the history feature, at least for the time being.

"ChatGPT is now back online," an OpenAI spokesperson told Bloomberg late last night, "and we are working to bring chat history back online as well."

Importantly, only conversation titles were available to other users — not the actual content of those queries. Still, the incident is certainly a reminder that, as OpenAI warns in its ChatGPT FAQ, users should refrain from sharing any "sensitive information" in conversations.

Wait, This is Worse

According to some reports, this wasn't the only OpenAI glitch yesterday evening.

As PCMag reports, anyone who might have been attempting to sign up for ChatGPT Plus last night — the OpenAI subscription service that grants paying users access to GPT-4 — might have accidentally found themselves privy to others' personal email addresses and phone numbers. Yikes.

"I saw four [email addresses] in total before I stopped doing it anymore," one of these ChatGPT Plus hopefuls told PCMag, explaining that each time he refreshed the paid tier's payment page, it auto-filled with a different user email. "It was clearly other people's contact information."

"On payment page for ChatGPT Plus, it originally stated it had sent an SMS to a number I did not recognize. Then when selecting to send an email instead, it is showing an email address that I have never heard of," someone else who encountered the issue tweeted. "Form field is also pre-filled with the unknown email address."

This glitch appears to be fixed as well, but altogether, these are some pretty egregious bugs — and again, a reminder that even the folks on the cutting edge of Silicon Valley can struggle to deliver secure software.

READ MORE: OpenAI Shut Down ChatGPT to Fix Bug Exposing User Chat Titles [Bloomberg]

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