Cyber Criminals Attempt To Infiltrate UK Anti-Doping Agency

It has been revealed that the UK Anti-Doping agency received 11,148 spam and malicious emails between October and December last year.

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) released the information, following a freedom of information (FoI) request submitted by Parliament Street.

Although UKAD doesn’t believe any of the attempts were successful, they did reveal that 21% of the emails were the popular cyber criminal tactic phishing, 52 of the email contained malware.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, blamed the Russian hacker group Sofacy (also known as APT28 and Fancy Bear group) behind the attack. They were also responsible for the 2016 US Presidential attack on the Democratic Party.

It is believed the hackers were looking for information it could use to damage UKAD’s reputation, after it played an active role in banning Russian athletes from global competitions, including the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, following doping allegations.

Explaining the FoI data, Any Harcup from Absolute Software VP, said:

“These figures are a reminder of the cyber security hurdles faced by athletics and sports organisations tasked with managing the confidential data of high-profile individuals. Many of these agencies require staff members to travel regularly, meaning mobile devices like laptops and tablets are a top target for hackers and opportunistic thieves.

“Addressing this problem requires all organisations to embrace a resilience-first approach to cyber security. This means making critical apps self-healing and gathering insights to remedy end-point vulnerabilities, so that hackers are kept locked out. Additionally, having the ability to track, freeze and wipe lost devices will guarantee that lost or stolen devices containing highly confidential data are protected at all times, in all circumstances.”

What this information shows us, is that cyber criminals will stop at nothing in order to achieve their goal. They may not always be successful as this bombardment of attempts demonstrates, but it only takes one lapse of judgement to let them in.