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Popular DNA testing service reports breach affecting 92 million users

07 June 2018

The security researcher reported that no other data related to MyHeritage was found on the private server. "There has been no evidence that the data in the file was ever used by the perpetrators", the statement said, adding that there is no reason to believe any other systems were compromised.

The 92,283,889 million accounts present on the server included users who signed up for the service up until October 26, 2017, the date MyHeritage believes the breach occurred. The website now has 96 million users from around the world with 1.4 million of them who have taken the DNA test.

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The company said it doesn't store user passwords, and instead stores a one-way hash of every password, in which the hash key is different for every customer. The researcher said they had found a file containing users' data on a private server and passed a copy of the file along. Having a hashed password does not mean that the real password is revealed. Hashed passwords should generally be considered secure.

The company said it had no reason to believe any other systems were compromised, and had not seen any activity indicating accounts were compromised as a result of the leak. After Deutsch was alerted, the company said its security team analyzed the file sent from the researcher and confirmed that its contents were legitimate and that the data originated from MyHeritage.

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The company noted it was complying with recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules form the European Union, given its multinational customer base. Credit card information, for example, isn't stored on the website but with trusted third-party payment processors like BlueSnap and PayPal.

The company emphasized that it does not store sensitive information, like user DNA data or family information, on the same system where it stores user email addresses. It's also working with an independent cybersecurity firm, which will conduct reviews to determine the scope of the breach and offer suggestions on preventing something like this from happening again. Nevertheless, the company recommends that all users change their passwords "for maximum safety".

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The barrage of data breaches highlights the heightened risks of identity theft and the continued vulnerabilities presented by databases of customer information and mobile apps. It's also accelerating work on two-factor authentication to make logins more secure.

Popular DNA testing service reports breach affecting 92 million users