Veritas Genetics Experienced a Security Breach

Bloomberg reported that the DNA-testing firm Veritas Genetics experienced a security breach that included customer information. The genome company confirmed this in a statement to Bloomberg.

Veritas Genetics provides consumers with cutting-edge genetic testing and interpretation. According to their website, they were the first to offer Whole Genome Sequencing and interpretation in 2016 for $999 (in the United States). In 2019, they dropped the price to $599.

The company sequences all 6.4 billion letters of a genome, which is more than other genetic testing companies do.

They also provide physicians with a dedicated portal to order, track, and review reports for all patients. Veritas Genetics offers researchers with a comprehensive data ecosystem to enhance research.

Bloomberg reported that Veritas Genetics became aware that a customer-facing portal had been “recently” accessed by an unauthorized user. The company said the portal didn’t contain genetic data, DNA-test results, or health records.

Veritas Genetics provided Bloomberg with the following written statement: “The security and privacy of customer information is a top priority, and we have security processes and procedures in place as part of this commitment, including segregating and securing genomic data on separate systems.”

“Our forensic investigation is ongoing, and we will notify any potentially impacted individual as appropriate under applicable law”, the company said. Bloomberg noted that a mix of state and federal laws govern the privacy of customer and health data, and can require companies to notify people if their data have been exposed.

According to Bloomberg, Veritas Genetics did not say exactly when it became aware of the breach or how long the system had been exposed. It did say that only a handful of customers were potentially affected.

Situations like this one make it clear that companies that do genetic testing or sequencing can be accessed by nefarious people. This is something to consider before purchasing a DNA test from a start up company.

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