Published: Wed, June 06, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

DNA Testing Service MyHeritage Says 92 Million User Accounts Have Been Compromised

DNA Testing Service MyHeritage Says 92 Million User Accounts Have Been Compromised

The Israel-based ancestry platform offers services like creation of family trees to discover familial and ancestry records.

The MyHeritage information security team was able to verify the file and confirm that it originated from the website's user database.

Consumer genealogy website MyHeritage said that email addresses and password information linked to more than 92 million user accounts have been compromised in an apparent hacking incident.

The company announced the breach on its blog, explaining that an unnamed security researcher contacted them to warn them of a file he had encountered "on a private server", tellingly entitled "myheritage".

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There's been another massive data breach - but this one may have a happy ending. Last month, news that investigators tracked down their suspect in the case of the Golden State Killer sparked worry about the privacy of genetic data shared with commercial sites such as MyHeritage. Furthermore, the company said it segregates its systems, meaning data such as family trees and DNA are stored separately from email addresses on systems with added security.

"We believe the intrusion is limited to the user email addresses", Deutsch wrote.

Renderings of DNA strands. And while the researchers stressed the chances of that kind of attack are minimal, they found a host of vulnerabilities in the commercial programs that are used to analyze DNA. "In many cases, the best practices for security are not being used". "Since Oct. 26, 2017 (the date of the breach) and the present we have not seen any activity indicating that any MyHeritage accounts had been compromised".

Users who signed up for the service before October 26, 2017 are impacted, according to a MyHeritage statement released on Monday regarding the incident.

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"I would rather give someone my DNA than my social security number, my search history, or my credit card", she said.

The customer DNA and genealogy data that makes up the heart of the company's work is stored on systems segregated from the breached material, the company said.

MyHeritage said it will hire an independent cybersecurity firm to help probe the breach and provide recommendations about how to prevent security lapses going forward.

The company also stated it intends to roll out an optional two-factor authentication system, which will require users to use a separate device or service to authenticate identity.

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