Antisemitism Suspected in Bizarre 23andMe DNA Hack

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In March this year, the Anti-Defamation League released a shocking report. In 2022, antisemitic incidents grew by 36%. This is the largest increase since 1979. It was the third record to be broken in the last four years.

Jonathon Greenblatt confirmed in an interview with PBS that the ADL’s CEO and National Director, Jonathon Greenblatt said that harassment incidents increased by 29 percent, assaults rose 26 percent, and vandalism increased 52 percent. The number of incidents is up almost 500% in the last decade.

The ADL reported that antisemitic incidents on university and college campuses would increase by 41% in 2022, as well as an alarming 49% in K-12 schools.

A spokesperson from 23andMe in Sunnyvale (California) confirmed on Oct. 6 that customer data had been stolen, and was being sold on a hacker’s forum. Hackers used a technique called “credential stuffing” to test passwords and usernames they had obtained from previous hacks. It’s important to always change your passwords.

23andMe claims that no genetic data was stolen. The breach of high-level data on accounts, such as the client’s geographic ancestry and personal data, was however a serious one. Hackers claim they are going to sell data from 999,999 accounts.

On the dark web, the seller is selling “Ashkenazi DNA Data of Celebrities” and claims that the data includes names, dates of birthdays, genders, photographs, DNA ancestry as well as lists of living relatives. The seller boasted about the fact that users could be targeted based on ethnicity using profile information. Hacker “Golem” is the hacker’s name. In Jewish mythology, a Golem is a clay figurine brought to life through magic. Golem claimed that the data for sale included information on high-profile celebrities. “From the world’s most powerful businessmen to the dynasties of which conspiracy theories often speak,” Golem said.

Ellen Fox, a retired psychologist and South Peninsula resident, is one of the customers whose data is at risk. She used 23andMe for the first time in 2019. Fox said that hackers may have done it to cause chaos, and to remind people of Nazism and Soviet times when Jewish people were really in danger.

Fox said she was “under no illusions” about privacy protections. She changed her passwords following the hack. It’s “open season” on all the information we put on the Internet. What’s even more alarming is the way hackers and pranksters use these tactics to terrorize communities.

Doug Sinton, a Palo Alto resident and former San Jose State Professor, is the father of a son who used 23andMe. There’s the potential for a variety of sinister outcomes. This is how Hitler was able to target so many people. “Who knows what someone malicious would do with that data?”

Edwin Black’s 2001 book “IBM and The Holocaust” contains documentation that shows the Third Reich used IBM’s card sorting and punch card technology. This technology was used by Germany to conduct a census and other registration procedures, which helped locate and murder hundreds of thousands of Jews.

NBC News confirmed last week that the data of two 23andMe customers who were affected by the hack is authentic. The outlet also looked at the entire data set that was being sold.

NBC News reported that “It contains their first and surname, sex, and 23andMe‚Äôs evaluation of their ancestors’ origins.” According to the report, “most people aren’t celebrities and they appear to have only included people of Ashkenazi descent.”

Ashkenazi is the term used to describe a distinct cultural group of Jews who settled in western Germany’s Rhineland region during the 10th century. Originally, the term was used to describe a distinct group of Jews from the Rhineland region in western Germany who settled there in the 10th Century.

Why was the DNA compromised? These incidents do not happen in a vacuum. Somebody or a group was targeting this DNA. I think that, in light of recent attacks in Israel the information obtained should be tracked and identified.

It’s a common occurrence for us to look back at an incident and say “Someone should’ve seen it coming.” Although I have no idea what the DNA hack is about, I am willing to bet that there’s a deeper meaning.