Skip to main content

The 23andMe data breach just keeps getting scarier

A 23andMe kit

The 23andMe breach that took place in October has been confirmed as much worse than originally reported, affecting 6.9 million people, as opposed to the 14,000 users first thought.

Information stolen in the breach included users’ full names, birth years, relationship labels, and locations. Approximately 1.4 million users also had Family Tree profile information on the service compromised. Hackers could also access genetic information in the breach, including details about common DNA percentages shared with relatives, and specifics such as chromosome matching, according to a spokesperson.

Reports indicate that this data has already gone up for sale on the black market, with several ethnic groups already being targeted, and bad actors selling a single person’s information for $1 to $10 in a data set. Meanwhile, the ancestry tracking website appears to be covering its tracks, having quickly sent out terms of service updates to users, which detailed that any legal complaints about this matter must be resolved outside of court. This would bar users from attempting a class action lawsuit as a primary action unless they opt out of a private resolution.

If users want to file a class action lawsuit, they must collectively opt out of a private dispute and can do so by emailing within 30 days of the update, which is December 30. This information is detailed at the end of the fifth section of the 23andMe terms of service update, Gizmodo noted.

In a statement about the matter, 23andMe attempted to shift responsibility even further, detailing in a statement that the breach occurred due to members reusing passwords from other accounts. This common cyberattack, known as credential stuffing, allowed hackers to collect already leaked passwords to access the initial 14,000 accounts. From there, they were able to span through more of the company’s database to steal information, according to a spokesperson.

Currently, the early implications of the breach are not known but are sure to become apparent over time. Experts have detailed that even when the collection of consumer data online is legal, there is the potential for implicit bias that can affect hiring decisions, apartment selection, credit applications, and insurance premiums. In illegal instances, identity theft can occur.

Notably, Meta (formerly Facebook) settled a $725 million class-action lawsuit in April, which detailed that the social media platform left users’ and their friends’ data exposed to third parties for profit. The suit added that Facebook had no rules or privacy protection in place for how third parties should interact with its user’s data.

The 23andMe breach similarly has the potential to have genetic data in the wrong hands be used to make deductions about individuals based on health information, such as a diagnosis or medical family history, Electronic Privacy Information Center law fellow, Suzanne Bernstein told the publication.

While the company’s users didn’t have strong password hygiene, other experts note that such a niche organization as 23andMe should realize its position from a cybersecurity standpoint. Hosting such sensitive data makes the company a prime target for cyberattacks and in need of backup login requirements, such as two-factor authentication (2FA).

Fionna Agomuoh
Fionna Agomuoh is a technology journalist with over a decade of experience writing about various consumer electronics topics…
Let’s create: Why NVIDIA Studio laptops are quintessential for content creators
NVIDIA Studio laptops with UI

Modern-day content creation takes many forms - from 3D, video editing, and live streaming to graphic design, photography, and game development - and with it comes powerful creator advancements and tools. For example, AI technology like generative AI is helping creators enhance their processes, and what they can create is more accomplished now than ever before. The same is true for game development, graphic design, and similar forms of media. As the complexity and quality of these media increase, so do the challenges and demands for content creators, who need the ultimate performance and efficiency to power through even the most demanding creative workflows.

That’s where NVIDIA Studio comes into play. The company’s hardware and software platform utilizes proprietary technologies to make creative work easier and more efficient than ever and in a manageable format. Featuring NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 40 Series laptop GPUs, NVIDIA Studio laptops offer the ultimate platform for content creation, from the Razer Blade 14 – available now – or the upcoming Acer Predator Triton Neo 16, Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and more.
Learn More
Why are NVIDIA Studio systems so powerful?

Read more
Apple’s M2 Mac Mini is 17% off right now
Someone using a Mac Mini while sitting at a desk.

The Apple Mac Mini M2 with a 256GB SSD is currently on sale from Amazon at 17% off, pulling its price down to $499 from $599. If you've been waiting for the 2023 model of the mini PC to appear in our list of the best Mac Mini deals, you wouldn't want to miss this opportunity at $100 in savings. Push through with the purchase as soon as possible, as tomorrow may already be too late because there's always a lot of interest whenever Apple's products get significant discounts like this.

Why you should buy the Apple Mac Mini M2
In our roundup of the best desktop computers, we described the Apple Mac Mini M2 as a supercharged version of the brand's mini PC, making it the top choice for any home. The latest model retains the compact footprint of previous generations of the Mac Mini, but with a major update in the form of Apple's M2 processor. Combined with an eight-core CPU, a 10-core GPU, and 8GB of RAM, the Apple Mac Mini M2 is capable of efficiently handling daily activities such as building presentations, editing photos, and creating reports -- and it stays quiet and cool as it completes these tasks for you.

Read more
Intel just boosted gaming performance by up to 155%
A tray of Intel Core Ultra CPUs.

Intel's engineers once again managed to introduce significant improvements in the latest driver update -- but this time, it's not the discrete graphics cards that received a boost. Instead, the recent patch targets integrated Intel Arc GPUs found in Intel Core Ultra processors, which are some of Intel's top CPUs for laptops. This update adds support for a couple of games, but more importantly, it boosts gaming performance by as much as 155%.

For starters, the new WHQL driver adds support for Last Epoch and Sea of Thieves, more precisely, the DX 12 update. This applies both to the Intel Arc A-series, meaning dedicated GPUs, and to the Core Ultra chips. Next, we have a slew of performance improvements in DX11 games.

Read more