Samsung Fab Workers Leak Confidential Data Via ChatGPT Usage

According to reports, Samsung Semiconductor allowed fab engineers to use ChatGPT for support, but they misused it to resolve source code issues quickly, resulting in the disclosure of sensitive data such as internal meeting notes, fab performance, and yield data. The company intends to create its own ChatGPT-like AI service for internal use but currently restricts question length to 1024 bytes.

To date, Samsung Semiconductor has reported three incidents of data leakage caused by the usage of ChatGPT. While three may seem like a small number, all three events occurred in the span of only 20 days, indicating a concerning situation.

In one instance, a Samsung Semiconductor employee shared source code from a confidential program with ChatGPT to resolve issues, consequently revealing the code of a highly secretive application to an external company’s artificial intelligence system.

In the second incident, another employee utilized test patterns designed to detect defective chips and requested optimization, which raised concerns as these test sequences are classified as confidential. Optimizing these test sequences can accelerate the silicon test and verification procedures, significantly reducing expenses.

Another worker converted a recorded meeting into a document using the Naver Clova app and then submitted it to ChatGPT to generate a presentation.

These actions jeopardized sensitive information, leading Samsung to caution its employees about the hazards of employing ChatGPT. Samsung Electronics notified its executives and workers that data submitted to ChatGPT is transmitted and stored on external servers, which makes it impossible for the company to recover and increases the risk of exposing confidential information. While ChatGPT is a valuable tool, its open learning data characteristic poses a danger of disclosing sensitive data to third parties, which is unacceptable in the highly competitive semiconductor sector.

Samsung is currently developing precautionary measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future. If another incident arises, even after implementing emergency information security measures, access to ChatGPT may be revoked on the company network. Nonetheless, generative AI and several AI-enabled electronic design automation tools are crucial for the future of chip manufacturing.

A Samsung Electronics representative refused to confirm or deny information regarding the information leak incident, citing that it was an internal matter when inquired about it.

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