back to article What a bunch of dopes! Fancy Bear hackers take aim at drug-testing orgs

The Russian hacking crew known as Fancy Bear is thought to be actively targeting anti-doping sports agencies. This according to the team at Microsoft, who have long been tracking the group also known as APT28 or Strontium. Redmond says that the attacks began in mid-September on the eve of new reports that the World Anti- …

  1. sbt

    Not surprised that these crackers are aligned with those cheaters

    So sad what Russia's become under Vlad the In-failer.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Not surprised that these crackers are aligned with those cheaters

      Awww, looks like there's at least four pro-Russian downvoters out there! How cute.

      Although I do wonder how difficult it was to explain the concept of 'votes' to them.

      1. sbt

        In Russia, the government votes for you!!!

        Based on events in 2016, I'd say they understand how voting works just fine. I don't think the cognitive dissonance required to love their country and their government allows them to actually rebut this sort of commentary; thumbs are cheap.

        Soon, they'll be nice and cosy behind a firewall with their mates in the CCP.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Not surprised that these crackers are aligned with those cheaters

      I didn't know Lance Armstrong was Russian....

      Doping in sports has been going on for centuries, but all nations and individuals alike. It's no worse now under Putin than any other president.

  2. NanoMeter

    Typical of despotic run countries

    They suck at everything, so they need to cheat on sport to show they're good at something. Unfortunately they suck at hiding their cheating as well.

    1. Muscleguy

      Re: Typical of despotic run countries

      Indeed, who would have thought that tampering with tamper proof bottle seals would leave detectable traces on the bottles? I’ve dealt with those things in the lab, getting the metal seals off the top would be a nightmare.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typical of despotic run countries


      I have friends who are technicians in sports, working for my country's team.

      They've always told me, for years, the russian teams were REALLY spooky, to say the least.

  3. iron Silver badge

    I've heard of Sheep on Drugs but Bears on Dope is a new one on me.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Kudos for that mention. Happy days in sweaty venues to that pair

      TV USA was my anthem at a former workplace.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot and Kettle (..for the umpteenth time)

    Quote: "’s critical that governments and the private sector are increasingly transparent about nation-state activity..."


    Ah...great how long do I have to wait till the UK government comes clean about GCHQ?


    And how long before the Trump administration comes clean about the NSA?


    Then there's Australia, New Zealand, China, North Korea............




    Sheer hypocricy to complain about the Russians!! What am I missing here? THERE ARE NO "WHITE HATS"....only bad actors everywhere!!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Pot and Kettle (..for the umpteenth time)

      But you know that GCHQ spy on foreigners. Of course you don't always get to learn much else. However if they start spying on anti-doping organisations in a plot to protect British athletes from the consequences of state-organised doping then you'll have something to complain about.

      Given that the last leak of data from Fancy Bears on TUEs led to a Parliamentary enquiry where they said all sorts of rude things about the Sky cycling team without much actual evidence - I'd say that's not something you need to worry about yet.

      Using systematic doping backed by your vital state security organisations to try to get extra medals at the Olympics isn't a sign of national strength. But a tragic sign of a system gone disastrously wrong.

  5. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

    Doping - an irregular verb

    I wonder what might be about to hit the headlines that's being pre-empted by this story?

    You don't get to compete at the top level in "sport" without being deep into a grey area of medications. Within the grey area it's largely political who gets allowed vs who gets banned. Russia being firmly on the wrong side of that, we shouldn't be surprised if they seek evidence of what others are getting away with.

    The irregular verb is perhaps a little complex:

    Me? I take only my essential medicines as ordered by the doctor.

    You? Your team doctor creatively bends the rules.

    Ivan? He dopes.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Doping - an irregular verb


      There's a grey area around TUEs (therapeutic use exemptions) - and some athletes choose to suffer rather than take ones they're allowed. For example I read last week that Jonah Lomu was legally allowed to use EPO because of his health problems, but chose not to. Although I've not seen if that was on medical or ethical grounds.

      There has to be a system of TUEs for asthmatics, allergy sufferers, diabetics etc. And that can be exploited to sometimes make small gains. Though the stuff about asthma appears to be bollocks, because the low doses of steroids they're allowed aren't performance enhancing according to most anti-doping scientists.

      But the Russians were doing full-on proper naughty doping with steroids and EPO and the like. Then switching the samples in the labs. In the case of the Sochi Olympics, even sending in the FSB to do the dirty work.

      There simply is no comparison.

      1. JohnG

        Re: Doping - an irregular verb

        The last time the Russians hacked the doping agencies, we learnt that one vocal opponent of drug use had been caught by more than one random drugs test but was then been awarded a number of retrospective TUEs. That is driving a coach and horses through the rules and blatant hypocrisy from the tennis player in question. And why is it, that when an athlete has some medical condition, all of the oral remedies given to the rest of us are apparently unsuitable and athletes are obliged to have injections, which have the greatest beneficial impact on their performance?

        Also from the last Russian hack, we learnt that all members of the Norwegian cross country skiing team were apparently chronic asthmatics.

        While the Russian hacking and Russian doping are bad, so is all this other "legalised doping". The whole thing should be done in the open.

    2. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

      Re: Doping - an irregular verb

      Oh my, that was quick. The story of Richard Freeman's tribunal hearing hit the headlines within hours.

      Though if that's all, it would be a disappointingly small story. Not interesting nor new enough to call for news management.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Doping - an irregular verb

        I'd already seen that story when I typed my reply. But there's a material difference, even if it turns out Team Sky had managed to hide a doping culture. Or even British Cycling. Nobody's failed any tests, and they've been quite well tested as they've been winning a lot.

        The stats from cycling in general though suggest that doping is vastly reduced. Or at least road cycling - I've not read about track cycling. But in the tours leaders now regularly have off days. But also performance declines on days when they do multiple Cat 1 or harder climbs - and unlike in the Armstrong era where the performance would be similar on each, now the athletes are getting slower on the later ones. EPO turns out to be really good, if it doesn't kill you. Which would make systematic Sky doping much more likely to stand out - rather than what actually looks to have happened - which is a team that have concentrated (and spent very heavily) on winning the Tour de France. And been modestly successful elsewhere, compared to teams like QuickStep, Jumbo-Visma and Sunweb.

        Doping is a global sporting problem. Some sports care more than others. I'm still waiting for big scandals in rugby for example. But Russia's state-backed systematic doping, backed by their intelligence services is a very rare beast. I've not read up on what doping is like in China since the scandals of 15-20 years ago, because they're not strong in the sports I'm interested in - but even at their height they weren't using state propoganda to try to rubbish everyone else or so desperate as to employ their intelligence services in pursuit of a bit of sporting glory.

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