“We believe you should have a safe place to explore and understand your genes. That’s why privacy and security are woven into everything we do,” states the biotechnology company 23andMe, which has sold 12 million DNA kits since its founding in 2006. “We also believe in choice. So you’re opted out of sharing unless you choose to opt in.”
That data evidently isn’t so private or secure. A group of hackers is sharing a list of 999,999 people, which it says it took from 23andMe and is calling “ashkenazi DNA Data of Celebrities.”
“Crazy, this could be used by Nazis,” said one person whose data is included in the posted list, per NBC News, which has authenticated the information of two of the people listed.
“It includes their first and last name, sex and 23andMe’s evaluation of where their ancestors came from,” according to NBC. “Most of the people on it aren’t famous, and it appears to have been sorted to only include people with Ashkenazi heritage.”
The company, which mails kits to customers for saliva-sample collection, told NBC that the leak appears to be real. A company spokesman told the news organization that “it believes that the hackers simply gained some users’ passwords that had been hacked and leaked from other sites, then exploited the fact that 23andMe can give users vast access to each others’ genetic information.”
“It’s a good day to have never used 23AndMe,” one user wrote on X.