The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has confirmed that details of tests carried out on athletes have been stolen and published online by hackers in Russia.
The hacking group, which operates under the codenames Tsar Team and Fancy Bear, was able to gain access to WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System database via an account created by the International Olympic Committee for the Rio 2016 games.
Data on British athletes, including cyclists Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins, were leaked, although British Cycling and the cyclists involved said that they have nothing to hide and that the leaked information contains no revelations.
WADA said it appeared that the system was accessed via nothing more than a phishing attack that led someone to give away their log-in details.
The ease with which such sensitive data was made available through a simple online trick suggests that WADA did not have two-factor security in place, and that staff may have be given no training about emails asking for credentials.
Olivier Niggli, director general of WADA, is adamant that the attacks came from Russia and will do no favours for the nation, which currently faces a huge backlash from the sporting world over state-sponsored doping. Many Russian athletes missed out on the Rio Olympics as a result of the findings.
“WADA condemns these ongoing cyber attacks that are being carried out in an attempt to undermine WADA and the global anti-doping system. WADA has been informed by law enforcement authorities that these attacks originate from Russia,” he 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 WADA’s independent McLaren Investigation Report.”
Yuliya Stepanova, the Russian athlete who revealed the extent of the doping, has already had her account hacked on the WADA system, revealing her location since going into hiding and forcing her to move again.
Russian government officials have denied any involvement in the attacks, despite the evidence.
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