Moscow-linked hack­ers hit anti-dop­ing agen­cies: Mi­crosoft

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

PARIS (AFP) — A hack­ers group linked to Moscow has tar­geted sport­ing and anti-dop­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions across the world with “sig­nif­i­cant” cy­ber­at­tacks as anti-dop­ing au­thor­i­ties mull new al­le­ga­tions against Rus­sia.

Mi­crosoft said it had tracked “sig­nif­i­cant cy­ber­at­tacks orig­i­nat­ing from a group we call Stron­tium, also known as Fancy Bear/APT28, tar­get­ing anti-dop­ing au­thor­i­ties and sport­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions around the world.”

The at­tacks be­gan on Sept. 16 and took aim at least 16 in­ter­na­tional sport­ing and anti-dop­ing agen­cies on three con­ti­nents, ac­cord­ing to Mi­crosoft’s cus­tomer se­cu­rity vice pres­i­dent Tom Burt.

The lat­est cy­ber­at­tacks in­volve spear-phish­ing and pass­word spray, ex­ploit­ing in­ter­net-con­nected de­vices and us­ing both open­source and cus­tom malware, Mi­crosoft said.

“Some of these at­tacks were suc­cess­ful, but the ma­jor­ity were not,” Burt said in an of­fi­cial Mi­crosoft blog.

Travis Ty­gart, head of the U.S. Anti-Dop­ing Agency (USADA), told AFP: “There was ev­i­dence of what they call in the in­dus­try a brute force pass­word at­tack.

“There was no breach. We spot­ted it and stopped it. We’ve been in touch with our rel­e­vant part­ners in­clud­ing Mi­crosoft and oth­ers about it,” he added, without con­firm­ing the ori­gin of the at­tack.

The World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) also said there was “no ev­i­dence of any breach of WADA’s sys­tems hav­ing oc­curred”.

WADA is re­view­ing al­le­ga­tions that Rus­sia ma­nip­u­lated data from the Moscow lab­o­ra­tory at the cen­ter of the state-spon­sored dop­ing scan­dal that erupted ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

WADA said it hoped to reach a de­ci­sion by the end of the year that could re­sult in new sanc­tions on Rus­sia.

Mi­crosoft said Fancy Bear, linked to Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, had pre­vi­ously tar­geted anti-dop­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions af­ter rev­e­la­tions of the Rus­sian dop­ing con­spir­acy be­tween 2011-2015 led to the coun­try be­ing banned from in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

The Fancy Bear group was ac­cused of launch­ing mas­sive cy­ber­at­tacks on the United States ahead of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

In Fe­bru­ary this year, Mi­crosoft said the group of hack­ers car­ried out cy­ber­at­tacks on Euro­pean in­sti­tu­tions ahead of Euro­pean elec­tions.

In Oc­to­ber 2018, a U.S. court in­dicted seven agents said to be from Rus­sian mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence following a probe into theft of elec­tronic data from anti-dop­ing agen­cies in 2016 and 2018.

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