Samsung's chip boffins couldn't help but tell ChatGPT their secrets

Samsung Electronics Hwaseong Campus
(Image credit: Samsung Electronics)

Samsung has been forced to limit access to ChatGPT after dealing with multiple leaks of confidential info via the chatbot. The leaks reportedly taking place only shortly after the company lifted a ban on the chatbot's use due to concerns over leaking. Awkward.

According to a report on the Economist Korea (via Tom's Hardware), three incidents of leaking took place in Samsung's semiconductor premises following the go-ahead to use ChatGPT. Two of these cases were said to be the leaking of equipment information, and the other the contents of a meeting.

One employee is said to have confirmed an error in source code of the semiconductor facility measurement database download program and entered it into ChatGPT to find a solution. We don't know whether they received a solution, but they had already leaked the source code for a Samsung fab program to ChatGPT's owner OpenAI.

OpenAI can and does use user prompts and uploaded images to help improve its services (i.e. ChatGPT). That's not the case for anything entered via an API, only ChatGPT and DALL-E. So if you're using either of those services, just bear in mind that OpenAI might use your inputs to improve its AI.

Another case saw a Samsung employee enter program code intended to identify yield and defective equipment into the bot—a real faux pas in the fab world.

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Samsung has reportedly threatened to crack down once again on the use of ChatGPT, "if a similar accident occurs even after emergency information protection measures are taken, access to ChatGPT may be blocked on the company network," the company is reported to have told employees.

Those emergency measures are limiting the uploads to ChatGPT and potentially giving those responsible a big telling off.

Of course the easiest way to ensure this never happens again is to not use ChatGPT at all, and reportedly Samsung Electronics is considering building its own AI chatbot in order to make sure no other company could get hold of its secret semiconductor sauce. Samsung is said to be pushing for its employees to get to grips with AI and its uses, so it makes sense that it would try and find a way to continue its use in the company but without all those pesky security concerns.

Samsung's a major player in electronics manufacturing. While it's largely focused on delivering new chips for its phones, RAM, NAND, and TVs every year, it also produces multitudes of chips for its clients, including Nvidia for the RTX 30-series graphics cards. Though now Samsung's rival TSMC takes care of Nvidia's needs with the RTX 40-series.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.