Popular DNA testing service MyHeritage reported this week that 92 million of its customer email addresses were exposed.
Individuals who want a deeper understanding of their heritage use MyHeritage to conduct an at-home DNA test complete with cheek swabs. Their samples are sent off to the company and in about two to three weeks, customers learn their ethnicity matches.
According to a Washington Post article, a researcher “found on a private server the email addresses and hashed passwords of every customer that had signed up for its service.” While the breach was reported this week, the company said that it actually occurred seven months ago.
Luckily for MyHeritage customers, the company asserts that no other information except email addresses and passwords was exposed – they do not store credit card information. As for the DNA and family tree information, MyHeritage says that this data is stored separately.
The company has not said how the breach occurred or why it was not detected seven months ago. “MyHeritage spokesman Rafi Mendelsohn said in an email to The Washington Post, “We are investigating that right now and aim to have an update in the next few days.”
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According to a recent Digital Trends article, our smartphones could someday add a “tiny electronic nose” with smelling function. It sounds strange, but as the author points out, there are certainly dangerous or toxic fumes that would be safer detected by a smartphone than our own noses.
Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have been working on “smelldect” technology involving an electronic nose that detects scents faster than a human can.
Despite being faster than a human nose, the technology uses the biological nose as its model, according to Dr. Martin Sommer, a leader of the smelldect project.
“In our electronic nose, nanofibers react to complex gas mixtures — i.e. scents — and also generate signal patterns, on the basis of which the sensor identifies the scents,” Sommer said in a statement.
The researchers suggest that an electronic nose could be used as “an ambient air detector or smoke alarm, or as a shopping aid to determine how fresh meat or fish is.”