23andMe Data Breach 2023: What Happened, Who Was Affected, and Steps to Protect Yourself

November 15, 2023
·
3 min
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Details of the 23andMe Data Breach

In early October, a hacker began selling  “millions of pieces” of 23andMe data via an illegal online forum called BreachForums. This triggered a deeper investigation which showed that cybercriminals had gained access to one or more of 23andMe’s databases.

23andMe representatives indicated that the data breach occurred in the “DNA Relatives” section, and have not been forthcoming on the amount of data exposed. However, a subsequent release of user data indicated that the number of people impacted could top 4-million. The investigation into the 23andMe data breach is ongoing, and customers should make an effort to stay informed as the extent of the breach is uncovered.

Extent and impact of the 23andMe Data Breach on consumers

The exact number of customers impacted by the 23andMe data breach remains unknown. We can assume that at least 4-million 23andMe customers have likely been affected due to the information shared by a hacker known as Golem. While Golem indicated that the bulk of their data originated in Great Britain, there is no way to determine if this is the only geographic location involved.

Anyone who has used 23andMe services to catalog their genetic information and who have opted for the “DNA Relatives” feature should keep a close eye on the evolving incident. 

What personal data was leaked and exposed in the breach?

The user information potentially leaked during the 23andMe data breach includes (but may not be limited to):

  • First and last names
  • Birthdates
  • Addresses
  • Genetic information
  • Names and information of potential family members identified through the 23andMe “DNA Relatives” feature

This type of data breach exposes the dangers of data sharing platforms that may allow hackers to access many sets of personal information by gaining access to a single account.

Here’s what to do if you were impacted

Currently, 23andMe users should change their passwords and enable two-factor authentication to secure their 23andMe accounts. In addition to these measures, it is a good idea for customers to take steps to monitor their credit reports for signs of identity theft, and to make an effort to remove as much of their personally identifiable information as possible from the online ecosystem.

If you were impacted or want to take steps to protect yourself from future data breaches, Cloaked can help. We allow people to create unique identities for every new connection and account, putting you in control of what you share with who. Click here to get started today.

Helpful links and other resources

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