In the latest development in the ongoing saga of the Moscow lab data, the state-sponsored Russian hackers known as Fancy Bear carried out cyberattacks on 16 individuals and organizations in the sports and anti-doping world, including WADA and USADA, starting in mid-September and continuing until this week. The information came from Microsoft, which is involved in cybersecurity for some of the targeted organizations.
The cyberattacks are believed to be in retaliation for widespread criticism of Russia and the threat of sanctions resulting from missing data from the Moscow Laboratory, and intimidation against those who say Russia should be banned from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics if a full accounting for the missing data is not forthcoming.
On September 23, we reported that WADA had discovered that evidence of failed drug tests by Russian athletes was missing from the data retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory in January, and gave RUSADA three weeks to explain it. (The data was transferred as a condition for the controversial lifting of a three-year ban on Russia in late 2018.)
Earlier this week, WADA issued a release stating it has received some of the answers it is looking for, and that it expects the situation to be resolved by the end of November. There was no mention of the cyberattacks.
WADA update regarding RUSADA Code Compliance: https://t.co/SotfJGoVOI
— WADA (@wada_ama) October 28, 2019
According to a report in the Globe and Mail, the attacks included malicious emails, identity fraud, stolen passwords and computer viruses. In 2018, seven Russian intelligence officers were indicted for their hacking activities, but Fancy Bear appears to be continuing its work relatively unimpeded.