Tech giant Microsoft has made a startling revelation recently that Russian hackers are trying to carry out several cyber-attacks during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The company said that the Russian hacking group Fancy Bear has carried out a series of cyber-attacks against a multitude of anti-doping authorities and sporting organizations around the world.
Researchers and analysts at the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Centre stated that Russian hacking groups- Fancy Bear, APT28 and Strontium- had targeted nearly 16 anti-doping agencies around the world. It also noted that some of the attacks were successful. The research further added that the hacks began on September 16. Microsoft stated that the hacking methods were similar to those used by Fancy Bear and other Russian groups to target governments, military organizations and universities.
It also mentioned that the hackers, believed to be working in the service of Russian military intelligence agency, GRU, began their cyber-attacks just before the Worldwide Anti Doping Agency or WADA found out major 'inconsistencies' in Russian athletes' compliance with the anti-doping standards, which might lead to the country's ban from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Russia was earlier banned from the Pyeongchang Winter Games in 2018. The country's athletes were forced to participate as neutral.
With the latest findings of the WADA, Russia is likely to be excluded from many major events, including, the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Football World Cup. The GRU-sponsored sports hacking first came to light in 2016, when hackers posted a large collection of stolen files from WADA, including the medical records of US gymnast Simon Biles and tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams on the website FancyBears.net.
After the Russian ban from the 2018 Winter Olympics, Fancy Bears reportedly hacked the networks of the International Olympic Committee. The Russian agencies are also notorious for hacking into NATO, Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign and the Ukraine Government.