SEOUL, South Korea - Merely weeks before the start of the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, evidence has been revealed showing an onslaught of Russia-linked hacking attacks.
According to reports, hackers linked to the Russian government are targeting Olympic organizations.
The incidents came to light after a hacking group called “Fancy Bears” released purported hacked emails and documents from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The group is believed to be associated with the similarly named group Fancy Bear, the cyber-espionage group that has been linked to Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.
Reports have earlier revealed that Fancy Bear, also known as APT 28, has been implicated in the hack of the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
According to the group, hacked information from the IOC, is proof “that the Europeans and the Anglo-Saxons are fighting for power and cash in the sports world.”
The hacked information has, however, not been verified.
Reports on Thursday quoted cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect as saying that it had identified spoofed domains imitating the World Anti-Doping Agency, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and the Olympic Council of Asia consistent with prior hacking campaigns linked to Fancy Bear.
The firm said in a blog post that the discovery of the domains raises “the question of a broader campaign against the upcoming 2018 winter games.”
Further, ThreatConnect added that it could not verify the legitimacy of the emails leaked by Fancy Bears.
However, the company said that the group was likely formed to leak information generated from Fancy Bear/APT 28 operations.
ThreatConnect said in the blog post, “These suspicious domains have consistencies with other previously identified Fancy Bear infrastructure and raise the question of a broader campaign against the upcoming 2018 winter games.”
The firm said, “At this time, we cannot confirm whether these domains have been used maliciously nor definitively tie them to Fancy Bear without additional data. ThreatConnect has notified the spoofed organizations.”
In 2016, Fancy Bears similarly released hacked emails from officials at the World Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Anti Doping Agency.
The recent developments, however, come after the International Olympic Committee decided to bar Russia’s Olympic team from the 2018 Winter Games over state-sponsored doping allegations.