Files allegedly containing doping information on FIFA soccer players were leaked online by the Fancy Bears (also known as APT28, Pawn Storm, Sednit, Sofacy, Tsar Team and Strontium) hacking group, as part of an “OpOlympics” campaign.
The leaked emails contain information about soccer players using illegal substances or therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs). Apart from a short list of players allowed to use TUEs at the 2010 World Cup, there’s no mention of players actually using illegal substances.
“Today Fancy Bears’ hack team is publishing the material leaked from various sources related to football,” wrote the hacker group. “Football players and officials unanimously affirm that this kind of sport is free of doping. Our team perceived these numerous claims as a challenge and now we will prove they are lying.”
While some of the files are dated June 2017, the hacking group claims that the number of players caught using illegal substances increased from 150 in 2015 to 200 in 2016. Although hackers claimed the files belong to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) official statements beg to differ.
“As WADA takes data privacy very seriously, the Agency immediately examined the information; and, was quickly able to determine that it is not housed in WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS),” reads a statement from WADA. “We take this opportunity to reiterate that the TUE process is a means by which an athlete can obtain approval to use a prescribed prohibited substance or method for the treatment of a legitimate medical condition.”
The Fancy Bears cybercriminal group, believed to be Russia-based, has been linked with cybercriminal activities targeting government and private organizations around the world.