Photo via Shawn Carpenter/Flickr

Hackers attack Olympics anti-doping organizations

They used phishing emails to try to gain login credentials.


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on Aug 12, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 6:46 am CDT

Two organizations that handle drug use by Olympic athletes say they were targeted by hackers. 

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed to the Associated Press that hackers attempted to gain access to their systems but said the hackers were unsuccessful in compromising either entity. A spokesperson for WADA said it learned of the attempted breach “this week.”

The attempts were made via phishing emails sent to database users. The emails asked recipients for their login credentials. The CAS website was taken down Thursday night by a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS), but it’s up again as of Friday.

WADA said it was was alerted to a YouTube video posted by allegedly Polish hackers that showed the the CAS website defaced with a message reading, “We forgot the sport is out of the politic (sic). Please forgive us.”

The hackers themselves, however, claim they did breach WADA’s servers. and reportedly reviewed stolen data shared by an Anonymous-branded Twitter account that includes emails, hashed passwords, and personal information about WADA contributors.

WADA is a foundation, led by the International Olympics Committee, that tests drug use in athletes. CAS, a quasi-legal body, handles disputes over athlete behavior, including the use of banned substances. Athletes use the WADA database to inform the foundation of their whereabouts as part of the drug-testing process.

The lead-up to the Olympics was punctuated by massive doping controversy, particularly the banning of wide swaths of Russian athletes from the 2016 games. Russian athletes are competing in the Olympics, but the country is completely banned from the Paralympics.

WADA did not blame any country, group, or individual for the attacks.

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*First Published: Aug 12, 2016, 1:31 pm CDT