Economy

MyHeritage suffers massive data leak affecting 92m users

MyHeritage suffers massive data leak affecting 92m users

Security researchers discovered earlier this week that over 92 million account details of MyHeritage customers were sitting on a private server outside of the company. The website now has 96 million users; 1.4 million users have taken the DNA test.

This was found to contain a large quantity of information about everyone who had signed up with the site up to October 26, 2017. Because the passwords were hashed, the actual passwords weren't exposed - hackers only got access to a scrambled string of text compiled by crytogaphic algorithms. While passwords were part of the compromised file, each was hashed using an algorithm that renders them useless in the event of the breach.

In some past breaches, however, hashing schemes have been successfully converted back into passwords.

So far, the company has found no evidence that bad actors used the stolen information to attack user accounts. Hashed passwords should generally be considered secure.

"Immediately upon learning about the incident, we set up an Information Security Incident Response Team to investigate the incident", wrote chief information security officer Omer Deutsch on a post on the company's website. "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".

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MyHeritage believes the leak was limited to email addresses, as it doesn't store passwords; rather it stores a one-way hash of each password, in which the hash key differs for each customer.

When you trust a company for genealogy and DNA testing services, you trust them with your highly sensitive private data.

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 said that payment information is handled by "trusted third-party billing providers" and family trees and DNA data is stored on segregated systems with added layers of security. "We are taking steps to inform relevant authorities including as per GDPR", the company said.

He also outlined how the company intends to bolster its security measures in future, including rolling out two-factor authentication to its users, as well as setting up a 24/7 security customer support team to assist users with concerns about the incident.

The company advised users to change their passwords.


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