The Russian cyberespionage group called Tsar Team, also known as Fancy Bear, was indeed the culprit behind the attack on the WADA Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database through an account created by the International Olympic Committee for the 2016 Rio Games, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed Tuesday.
“While it is an evolving situation, at present, we believe that access to ADAMS was obtained through spear phishing of email accounts; whereby, ADAMS passwords were obtained enabling access to ADAMS account information confined to the Rio 2016 Games,” a WADA release said of the attack on the database that housed athlete data, including private medical information. “At present, we have no reason to believe that other ADAMS data has been compromised.”
Adam Levin, chairman and founder of IDT911, and author of “Swiped,” said “targeted U.S. Olympians, including Serena and Venus Williams and Simone Biles, could be in serious jeopardy, as medical identity theft is perhaps the deadliest form of this pandemic.”
Once a cybercriminal nicks medical information “they, as well as those who purchase it from them on the dark web, can exploit your health insurance or obtain multiple prescriptions and medical treatments in your name and stick you with the bill,” Levin said in emailed comments to SCMagazine.com. “Health records can easily be contaminated when test results and medical histories are co-mingled, blood types change and allergies disappear, putting victims’ lives at risk.”
Although many “dream of becoming Olympics competitors, no one fantasizes about having their sensitive medical information stolen and exposed,” he noted. But it’s not high-profile athletes or stars who are at risk. While a case like this is both deplorable and particularly noteworthy, because it represents the intersection of international superstars and pilfered protected health information, we must never lose sight of the fact that in the eyes of hackers, we are all celebrities and our sensitive health data is a virtual goldmine,” Levin said.