Microsoft says the Russian state-sponsored hacking group Fancy Bear has now decided to target about 16 national and international anti-doping agencies just ahead of the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
At least 16 national and international sporting and anti-doping organizations across three continents were targeted in these attacks which began September 16th, just before news reports about new potential action being taken by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Some of these attacks were successful, but the majority were not. Microsoft has notified all customers targeted in these attacks and has worked with those who have sought our help to secure compromised accounts or systems.
This comes on the heels that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) may be considering extra measures regarding Russian athletes before the games next year. Russia it is widely reported may even be banned from the games all together if new doping allegations are not addressed. Back in September, Russia was given three weeks to explain the accusations of tampering with doping data, and the country’s officials believe the investigation could lead to Russian athletes being banned from the 2020 games.
Microsoft said the hackers used spearphishing, open source malware and brute force to access users credentials like password. IoT hacking is not excluded, remember the Wannacry ransomware attacks of 2017?
It’s worthy of note that the Microsoft also thinks “Some of these attacks were successful, but the majority were not.”
APT28/ Fancy Bear breached the WADA back in 2016 and leaked athlete data and reportedly targeted the Winter Olympics of 2018 by paralysing internet connections thereby making it difficult for people to print tickets. This may have been some kind of retaliation for banning Russia from the Olympics due to doping allegations.
Microsoft now proffers three ways to stay ahead of such attacks; first, that you enable two-factor authentication on all business and personal email accounts. Second, learn how to spot phishing schemes and protect yourself from them. Third, enable security alerts about links and files from suspicious websites.