The popular DNA testing service MyHeritage DNA has just reported that hackers have stolen the email addresses and hashed passwords of over 92 million users.
The company apparently didn’t know about the breach until they were alerted to it by a third-party security research firm.
The MyHeritage blog post announcing the breach was quick to point out that users’ actual passwords weren’t stolen, only the hashed versions of them.
However, they are recommending that all users change their passwords as a precaution.
This breach is a perfect example of why I don’t recommend the use of DNA testing services.
While the only information that’s known to be stolen in this breach are the users’ email addresses and hashed passwords, it’s quite possible that those users’ actual DNA test results were stolen as well and stored on a different server than the one discovered by the security researcher.
Bottom line: If your DNA test results fall into the wrong hands it could negatively affect both you and your descendants for years to come.
While it might be nice to know “who you are and where you came from”, in my opinion the benefits of that knowledge are far outweighed by the risks involved with getting it from an Internet-based DNA testing service.
Of course your opinion about that might well differ from mine, and if so that’s perfectly ok.
Just be aware that the risks of allowing a private Internet-based company to analyze your DNA and store the results on their web server are both substantial and very real.
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