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WADA Confirms Cyberattack by Russian Hackers

A woman walks into the head office for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, Nov. 9, 2015. The agency says Russian hackers compromised confidential athlete data relating to the Rio Olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed Tuesday that a Russian cyber espionage group gained access to confidential athlete information relating to the Rio Olympic Games.

“WADA has been informed by law enforcement authorities that these attacks are originating out of Russia,” the organization’s director general, Olivier Niggli, said in a statement. “These criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia.”

The group, identified as Tsar Team (APT28), also known as Fancy Bear, broke into WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database and published confidential athlete records online, while threatening to release more.

The hackers revealed records relating to athletes which detailed instances of "adverse analytical findings" (AAFs) or their use of “therapeutic use exemptions” (TUEs), which allow athletes to use substances that are banned if there is a verified medical reason.

The latest breach of WADA's database came after the agency confirmed last month that the file of whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova had been accessed by hackers.

Stepanova, who has been living in hiding in the United States since she exposed a Russian state-backed doping program, later said she feared for her life following the hack.

The International Olympic Committee banned the entire Russian track and field team, with the exception of one athlete based in the United States, from the Rio Games in August after WADA published a report on doping in Russian sports.