When Even Your DNA Info Can Be Hacked

June 8, 2018

By Conor White

Though the email addresses and passwords of more than 90 million customers were exposed in a data breach, the DNA-testing service MyHeritage tried to assure its users their personal information is still safe.

"It's important to remember none of the genetic data was compromised," said Rob Verger, the assistant tech editor at Popular Science. "But it is a reminder that almost everything is hackable."

The leak of more than 90 million emails and encrypted passwords to a private service occurred last October, but a security researcher did not inform MyHeritage of the breach until 7 months later, on June 4. The company said it has no reason to believe the hack was carried out by malicious actors, but it doesn't know for sure.

Verger said companies like MyHeritage take additional steps to protect their clients' highly-personal genetic information.

"I reached out to some other companies to kind of ask them about their security practices in this arena, and a lot of them say that things like user data that is personally identifiable is kept on a separate system from the genetic data," he said.

In a statement, MyHeritage said it would inform each individual user affected by the hack, and fortify security with a two-step verification process.

For full interview, click here.