News 15 August 2016

Stepanova forced to move location after account hacks

Yuliya Stepanova and Vitaly Stepanov, who provided information to expose systemic Russian doping, have been forced to move after criminals hacked into her email account and ADAMS account, revealing their location. The Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) is used by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to record where an athlete will be available for testing for one hour each day, under the ‘whereabouts’ requirements within the World Anti-Doping Code.

‘The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirms that Yuliya Stepanova’s password for WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) was illegally obtained, which allowed a perpetrator to access her account on ADAMS’, read a WADA statement. ‘Ms. Stepanova was the key whistleblower for WADA’s Independent Pound Commission that exposed widespread doping in Russian athletics. Through WADA’s regular security monitoring of ADAMS, the Agency noted that someone, other than Ms. Stepanova, had accessed her account. WADA immediately locked Ms. Stepanova’s account to prevent further access and notified her of the situation. A subsequent investigation by WADA allowed the Agency to determine that no other athlete accounts on ADAMS have been accessed.’

Last week, WADA said that it had suffered an attempted hack but at that time, it thought that its website and databases had not been compromised. The Sports Integrity Initiative reported how the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) internet site was temporarily taken down, after a video purporting to be from Anonymous Poland showed how hackers were able to change headlines on the CAS internet site. Social media accounts distributing the video were taken down shortly afterwards. It is understood that the same people are behind all the CAS and WADA attacks, however their true identity is not known.

WADA confirmed that it was in contact with law enforcement over the attacks, which may have compromised more confidential athlete information through an attempted ‘phishing’ attack. Its statement said that some users had received ‘illegitimate e-mails that look as though they come from WADA, which ask users to click on a link and enter their personal credentials. WADA quickly investigated and immediately sent an e-mail to all ADAMS users, including a warning banner on the ADAMS home page, alerting them to these e-mails, which WADA would never send, and asking them to advise ADAMS support immediately if they were to receive such an e-mail. To date, WADA has been made aware of the following illegitimate registrations, which we ask ADAMS users to watch out for: wada-awa.[org] and wada-arna.[org]. We continue monitoring the situation to determine whether or not users have acted (or act) on these e-mails to ensure that data remains secure.’

Meanwhile journalist Hajo Seppelt has admitted that he is under police protection in Rio. Seppelt helped to get Yuliya Stepanova and husband Vitaly Stepanov – a former Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) employee – out of Russia and helped enable them to provide evidence of systemic doping in Russia to WADA. An interview with Seppelt is available here.

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