A Russian cyberespionage group known as Fancy Bear has accessed and leaked data belonging to several high-profile Olympic athletes, by targeting a database belonging to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
In a move that seemingly stems from WADA’s recommendation to ban all Russian athletes from this year’s Olympics, Russian cyberespionage outfit “Fancy Bears” has stolen and leaked medical files belonging to prominent Olympic athletes. The targeted athletes include popular tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, as well as gymnast and gold medalist Simone Biles.
WADA recommended a blanket ban of all Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics after the discovery of a sweeping state-run doping program in the country. While such a ban did not ensue, over 100 Russian athletes did not board the plane to the Rio summer Olympics.
The hacking outfit published the stolen records on a newly-created social media account. Notably, the banned substances used by the Williams sisters that Fancy Bears allude to were eventually authorized by WADA.
— Fancy Bears' HT (@FancyBears) September 12, 2016
“It’s unthinkable that in the Olympic movement, hackers would illegally obtain confidential medical information in an attempt to smear athletes to make it look as if they have done something wrong,” stated US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis T. Tygart, before adding:
In fact, in each of the situations, the athlete has done everything right in adhering to the global rules for obtaining permission to use a needed medication.
WADA’s management system database was targeted in the hack, a breach that WADA believes transpired through a targeted spear phishing of email accounts. The agency insists that passwords to the database were obtained from an account “confined” to this year’s Olympic games, implying that no other database was compromised.
For its part, Fancy Bears claims to be a part of the hacking collective Anonymous and has claimed on its website that it will soon reveal information about “other national Olympic teams” after its targeting of American athletes.
Revelations on its website read:
After detailed studying of the hacked WADA databases we figured out that dozens of American athletes had tested positive. The Rio Olympic medalists regularly used illicit strong drugs justified by certificates of approval for therapeutic use.
In other words they just got their licenses for doping.
The group of Russian hackers has also added that the revelations so far were “just the tip of the iceberg”.
Meanwhile, WADA strongly condemned the hack, in a statement that did not hold back.
The agency’s director general Olivier Niggli said:
Let it be known that 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.
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