Confidential information about international athletes surfaced on the Internet Wednesday — the second such exposure this week. Russian hackers allegedly stole from the World Anti-Doping Agency confidential data on medical drug exemptions given to 25 athletes from eight countries. Information about four athletes appeared online earlier this week.
A group of Russian hackers called “Tsar Team” (APT28), also known as “Fancy Bear,” used phishing techniques to compromise the credentials of Yuliya Stepanova, the athlete who blew the whistle on a state-sponsored doping scheme in Russia, WADA said.
The hackers used those credentials to compromise WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System.
“To those athletes that have been impacted, we regret that criminals have attempted to smear your reputations in this way; and, assure you that we are receiving intelligence and advice from the highest level law enforcement and IT security agencies that we are putting into action,” WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said.
“Given this intelligence and advice, WADA has no doubt that these ongoing attacks are being carried out in retaliation against the agency, and the global anti-doping system, because of our independent Pound and McLaren investigations that exposed state-sponsored doping in Russia,” he added.
Attacks like the one on WADA might be diversions to deflect attention from Russia’s real target: the U.S. presidential election.
“The Russian attempt to help elect Donald Trump by means of cyberattacks is such an egregious violation of the American political system that they are attempting to distract the media and public from it by making news with many other cyberattacks,” suggested Scott Borg, CEO of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit.