At a glance.
- Leadership turmoil at OpenAI.
- Citrix Bleed vulnerability implicated in ransomware attacks.
- QakBot seems to have a successor.
- The FSB deploys LitterDrifter in cyberespionage against Ukraine.
- Russian security firm says China and North Korea are the source of most cyberattacks against Russia.
- Privateers and auxiliaries engage targets of opportunity.
- Alleged war crimes include cybercrimes.
Leadership turmoil at OpenAI.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was dismissed by the company’s board on Friday, with the board stating that Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” It was a failure to communicate, and not, according to an internal memo Axios saw, a case of malfeasance. The company’s co-founder and president Greg Brockman also quit in response to the move. OpenAI is the artificial intelligence research organization that developed ChatGPT.
Microsoft, a significant investor in the not-for-profit AI firm (and therefore in its for-profit subsidiary Open AI Global LLC) was surprised and upset by Altman’s firing, Ars Technica reports. Rumors circulated over the weekend that Altman and Brockman were planning to launch a new AI venture. An investor- and employee-driven attempt to negotiate Altman’s return to the company failed yesterday. The final decision to move on from Altman hasn't ended the controversy. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that more than five-hundred OpenAI employees have signed a letter to the board demanding its resignation (and they say they'll quit if the present board stays in place). Among those having second thoughts about the leadership change is Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever, also a board member who played a central role in Altman's firing. He tweeted this morning, "I deeply regret my participation in the board's actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we've built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company."
Late last night, Reuters reported that Altman had been hired by Microsoft. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said on X (formerly Twitter), “[W]e're extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”
Meanwhile, after a brief interregnum in which CTO Mira Murati served in the role, OpenAI has appointed Emmett Shear, former head of Twitch, as interim CEO. Shear says he’ll open an investigation into Altman’s firing. Nadella added on X, “We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI's new leadership team and working with them.”
OpenAI and its ChatGPT product have for months been prominently discussed for their potential cybersecurity applications, both offensive and defensive. Trend Micro has a brief appreciation of the threats AI enables. AI has attracted widespread scrutiny with respect to the potential it represents for the large-scale creation and dissemination of disinformation. For an appreciation of how AI can be used to increase security (and an offer to do just that) see these notes from IBM. For the fully utopian, transhumanist view of AI's potential, and some harsh criticism of how, in the author's view, OpenAI's board has retarded Utopia's arrival, see this essay in the Information by an early venture investor in the company. For a pessimistic view of AI's place in humanity's future, consult a representative description of this family of technologies as an "existential risk."