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Sports doping agency WADA says hackers lifted Olympic athletes' medical records

Javelin Spear phishing from Russia cracked admin account

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has confirmed that its Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database has been accessed by a “Russian cyber espionage group operator by the name of Tsar Team (APT28), also known as Fancy Bear.”

The breach was made possible by spear phishing of an “International Olympic Committee (IOC)-created account for the Rio 2016 Games” that saw the account-holder's passwords obtained.

WADA should have known about Olympic-related phishing: El Reg warned about it in the days before the games!

“The group accessed athlete data,” WADA says, “including confidential medical data - such as Therapeutic Use Exemptions delivered by International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) - related to the Rio Games; and, subsequently released some of the data in the public domain, accompanied by the threat that they will release more.”

Fancy Bear is though to also go by the names APT 28 and Tsar Team. Whatever the group's name, the site [please think before visiting site run by hackers - Ed] on which it has posted a rationale for its attack claims no national affiliation. The Russian link comes from WADA director general Olivier Niggli, so says the agency “has been informed by law enforcement authorities that these attacks are originating out of Russia.”

The Russian link matters because ahead of the Rio games the nation was the subject of accusations of systematic, government-sponsored doping. Some Russian athletes were even banned from competition. Others were roundly booed during the games.

Niggli says “these criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia further to the outcomes of the Agency’s independent McLaren Investigation Report,” Niggli continued.

Fancy Bear insinuates Russia was not alone in sending tainted athletes to the games, naming several US competitors and making their medical records available for download.

The Register will leave it to others to judge where the line between medication and performance enhancement should be drawn. WADA, for its part “condemns these ongoing cyber-attacks that are being carried out in an attempt to undermine WADA and the global anti-doping system.”

Fancy Bear warns it has more revelations to come. ®

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