I received the email below today. One thing that immediately jumped out at me was the paragraph about how DNA information was not compromised, because it was encoded. I suspect that "encoding" was a deliberate word choice; and encoding is not encryption. In fact, it is often trivially easy to decode encoded data to retrieve it in its raw form. If they actually have a "leading cybersecurity firm" involved, this distinction (if incorrect) should have been identified immediately. As such, though I do not know the internal details, I am personally assuming that my raw DNA data was effectively compromised.
Dear GEDmatch member,
On the morning of July 19, GEDmatch experienced a security breach orchestrated through a sophisticated attack on one of our servers via an existing user account. We became aware of the situation a short time later and immediately took the site down. As a result of this breach, all user permissions were reset, making all profiles visible to all users. This was the case for approximately 3 hours. During this time, users who did not opt-in for law enforcement matching were available for law enforcement matching, and, conversely, all law enforcement profiles were made visible to GEDmatch users.
On Monday, July 20, as we continued to investigate the incident and work on a permanent solution to safeguard against threats of this nature, we discovered that the site was still vulnerable and made the decision to take the site down until such time that we can be absolutely sure that user data is protected against potential attacks. It was later confirmed that GEDmatch was the target of a second breach in which all user permissions were set to opt-out of law enforcement matching.
We can assure you that your DNA information was not compromised, as GEDmatch does not store raw DNA files on the site. When you upload your data, the information is encoded, and the raw file deleted. This is one of the ways we protect our users’ most sensitive information.
Further, we are working with a leading cybersecurity firm to conduct a comprehensive forensic review and help us implement the best possible security measures. We expect the site will be up within the next day or two.
We have reported the unauthorized access to the appropriate authorities and continue to work toward identifying the individuals responsible for this criminal act.
Today, we were informed that MyHeritage customers who are also GEDmatch users were the target of a phishing scam. Please remember to exercise caution when opening emails and clicking links. Never provide sensitive information via email. If an email seems suspicious, contact the company in question directly through the phone number or email address listed on their website, not via a reply to the suspicious email. You can reach GEDmatch at firstname.lastname@example.org or (858) 285-4101. At this time, we have no evidence to suggest the phishing scam is a result of the GEDmatch security breach this week. We are continuing to investigate the incident.
Please be assured that we take these matters very seriously. Our Number 1 responsibility is to protect the data of our users. We know we have not lived up to this responsibility this week, and we are working hard to regain your trust. We apologize for the concern and frustration this situation has caused.
CEO, Verogen Inc.