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The Reason a DNA Data Breach is Even Worse Than a Credit Card Leak

So, you’re thinking about hopping on the trend and trying out a DNA website. You might be thinking about privacy and security, comparing MyHeritage vs. 23andme as you consider the best option for your needs. With so many people finding out more about their heritage and even their health by using these services, it’s no surprise if you want to check it out too. However, before you do, you should know a bit more about DNA data breaches and how they can be seriously bad news.

What You Need to Know About MyHeritage

Earlier this year, a DNA testing service known as MyHeritage ran into a large amount of trouble. It turns out that hackers managed to break into their databases and breach almost 100 million accounts. While the hackers in this case only took off with the passwords and emails encrypted here, there is no question that the genetic data was accessible and could have been taken. With more and more DNA genetic testing going on, it bears the question of why someone would want this data and what would happen if they managed to access it.

Reasons for Hacking DNA Information

One of the biggest reasons that a hacker might want to grab DNA data is to hold it and ransom it off. While this hasn’t been a problem with DNA information up until this point, it’s not uncommon for hackers to get ahold of sensitive information and refuse to give it back until a ransom is paid. When it comes to this type of data, there are plenty of people out there who would love to have it. Imagine if an insurance company knew that when you were older, you might get Alzheimer’s. What if they then refused you insurance? That’s only one possibility but a scary one, nonetheless.

How This Effects Other DNA Companies

With MyHeritage, the DNA collection isn’t used to determine medical issues, but other DNA companies do exactly what. For instance, 23andMe is known for offering all sorts of information about someone’s future health by digging into their DNA. There are tons of ways this could go wrong, and it goes far beyond having to pay off some charges or swap out your card if someone gets access to it and goes wild on Amazon. There isn’t a lot of protection out there for this sort of thing, so it could get pretty crazy very fast.

The reality is that genetic testing sites are privy to tons of personal information that you might rather not offer to the entire world. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out DNA testing if it’s something that’s interesting to you. But it does mean that you should be aware of all the risks first. Consider what might happen in the future and decide if that’s something you could live with in the future. You can find out all sorts of things with genetic testing, but so could someone who grabs your data off the Internet.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes

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