WADA says athlete data stolen by Russian group

The World Anti-Doping Agency said on Tuesday that hackers stole confidential medical information about U.S. Olympic athletes and published it on the internet, blaming a Russian group for the attack.

The U.S. government is investigating the case because there is evidence that the hackers are linked to the Russian government, though details are still sketchy, according to two sources familiar with the probe who were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Russian news agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying any possible Russian government or secret service participation in the hacking was out of the question.

An FBI representative said she had no immediate comment on the release of the medical information, which prompted gymnast Simone Biles to disclose that she has an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

WADA issued a statement attributing the attack to Tsar Team, a hacking group widely known as APT28 and Fancy Bear by U.S. cyber-security researchers.

Fancy Bear is one of two hacking groups accused in June of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computer network. CrowdStrike, a firm hired by the DNC to respond to those attacks, said in June that Fancy Bear was probably working on behalf of the Russian military.

WADA said that law enforcement had told it the attacks originated in Russia. WADA spokeswoman Maggie Durand declined to elaborate or say how the operation had been uncovered.

“WADA condemns these ongoing cyber-attacks that are being carried out in an attempt to undermine WADA and the global anti-doping system,” said Director General Olivier Niggli in a statement.

WADA said it believed the hackers gained access to its anti-doping administration and management system (ADAMS) via an IOC-created account for the Rio Games.

The doping agency made the accusations as a website, www.fancybear.net, posted what appeared to be data about four U.S. athletes: Simone Biles, Elena Delle Donne, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

That site, which internet registration records said was created on September 1, said it planned disclosing information about athletes from other nations in the future.

Credit: Marca

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