Massive Breaches: 92 Million Users’ Details Leaked by DNA Testing Site

06 June, 2018, 15:14 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Popular DNA testing service reports breach affecting 92 million users

The company investigated the report and confirmed that the file contained data on more than 92 million users who had signed up for the genealogy service before late October 2017, when the company says the breach occurred.

Israel-headquartered MyHeritage enables users to create family trees by searching through historical documents such as census, immigration, marriage and burial records in 42 languages. The Israeli company offers customers a detailed a breakdown of their ethnic origins and family tree based on their DNA testing results. The website now has 96 million users; 1.4 million users have taken the DNA test.

MyHeritage founder and CEO Gilad Japhet.

yHeritage, one of the nation's most popular online genealogy sites, said a security breach had affected the email addresses and hashed passwords of 92 million users, raising concerns about the security of more sensitive data that the company collects. The pilfered password information was also hashed, essentially scrambling the characters into what appears to be random text.

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The company reassured customers that anyone who has access to the hashed passwords does not have the actual passwords.

Hashing passwords is a one-way encryption process allowing sensitive data to be stored easily, and although there are theoretically ways to reverse hashing, they involve enormous amounts of computing power and quite a bit of luck. Having a hashed password does not mean that the real password is revealed.

"There has been no evidence that the data in the file was ever used by the perpetrators", said Omer Deutsch, the company's chief information security officer in a blog post, adding that the company has not seen any indication that the accounts had been compromised.

In its statement, the company emphasized that DNA data is stored "on segregated systems and are separate from those that store the email addresses, and they include added layers of security". The company does not store the credit card data of its users, instead using third-party vendors such as Paypal. It has set up an information security incident response team, and also contracted an independent cybersecurity team to determine the scope of the breach and provide a recommendation regarding further steps and security measures. The company said it's also speeding up its work to roll out two-factor authentication for users.

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