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NelsonG

DNA testing startup Veritas Genetics confirms data breach

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Veritas Genetics, a DNA testing startup, has said a data breach resulted in the theft of some customer information.

The Danvers, Mass.-based company said its customer-facing portal had “recently” been breached but did not say when. Although the portal did not contain test results or medical information, the company declined to say what information had been stolen — only that a handful of customers were affected.

The company has not issued a public statement, nor has it acknowledge the breach on its website. A spokesperson for Veritas did not respond to a request for comment.

Bloomberg first reported the news.

Veritas, whose competitors include 23andMe, Ancestry and MyHeritage, says it can analyze and understand a human genome using a smaller portion of an individual’s DNA, allowing customers to better understand what health risks they may face in later life or pass on to their children.

Although the stolen data did not include personal health information, it’s likely to further fuel concerns that health startups, particularly companies dealing with sensitive DNA and genome information, can’t protect their users’ data.

Privacy remains an emerging concern in genetics testing after law enforcement have served legal demands against DNA collection and genetics testing companies to help identify suspects in criminal cases. Just this week, it was reported that a “game changer” warrant obtained in Florida allowed one police department to search the full database of GEDmatch, a DNA testing company, which last year was used by police to help catch the notorious Golden State Killer.

Some 26 million consumers have used an at-home genetics testing kit.

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