Published in AI

Apple Intelligence ChatGPT had a worrying feature

by on04 July 2024

It stored data in plain text

Fruity cargo cult Apple's Apple Intelligence flavour of OpenGPT  is so sophisticated, super, and cool that it can store data in plain text without that pesky need for encryption.

The ChatGPT macOS app made it a doddle to find your chats stored on your computer and read them in plain text. That meant if a bad actor or malicious app had access to your machine, they could easily read your conversations with ChatGPT and the data contained within them.

As Pedro José Pereira Vieito demonstrated on Threads, the ease of access meant another app could access those files and show you the text of your conversations right after they happened.

Vieito started investigating when he wondered how OpenAI got around Apple’s app sandbox protections and ended up checking where it stored the app data.

OpenAI only offers the ChatGPT macOS app through its website, meaning the app doesn’t have to follow Apple’s sandboxing requirements that apply to software distributed via the Mac App Store.

The Tame Apple Press has quickly blamed OpenAI for the issue; the company released an update that encrypts the chats.

An OpenAI spokesperson said: “We are aware of this issue and have shipped a new version of the application that encrypts these conversations.”

After downloading the update, Pereira Vieito’s app no longer works, and conversations cannot be seen in plain text.

Unless you’ve opted out, OpenAI may review ChatGPT conversations for safety and to train its models. But you’d not expect that privilege to extend to unknown third parties that get access and know where to look.

Last modified on 04 July 2024
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