The World Anti-Doping Agency on Tuesday confirmed Russian hackers had breached its database and published confidential athlete records, the second attack on the organisation since early August.
WADA said in a statement that the Russian cyber espionage group Tsar Team (APT28), also known as Fancy Bear, had broken into its Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database.
The group had earlier Tuesday published information gleaned from the files of four prominent US athletes who competed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, including a gold medal winner.
“WADA deeply regrets this situation and is very conscious of the threat that it represents to athletes whose confidential information has been divulged through this criminal act,” WADA director general Olivier Niggli said in a statement.
“WADA condemns these ongoing cyber-attacks that are being carried out in an attempt to undermine WADA and the global anti-doping system,” Niggli added.
The Fancy Bear group published a series of files relating to the athletes which detailed instances of “adverse analytical findings” (AAFs) or their use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs).
An AAF means that a substance on WADA’s banned list has been found in an athlete’s system but it is not classified as an anti-doping violation if it can be legitimately explained for a medical reason.
A therapeutic use exemption is granted to athletes suffering from a condition or injury which requires treatment using medicine included on WADA’s banned list.
A spokeswoman for the IOC blasted the hacking, stating none of the athletes named in the files were guilty of doping offences.
“The IOC strongly condemns such methods, which clearly aim at tarnishing the reputation of clean athletes,” the spokeswoman told AFP.
“The IOC can confirm however that the athletes mentioned did not violate any anti-doping rules during the Olympic Games Rio 2016.”
The latest breach of WADA’s cyber defences comes after the agency confirmed last month that Russian whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova’s file had been accessed by hackers.
Stepanova, who is living in hiding in the United States after lifting the lid on doping in Russian sport, later said she feared for her life following the hack. – Agence France-Presse