Last Updated: 04/10/18 9:06am
The Russian military intelligence service GRU has targeted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), according to the government.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has identified cyber-attacks against WADA, which recently reinstated Russia’s anti-doping body RUSADA to widespread criticism.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt accused the GRU of waging a campaign of “indiscriminate and reckless” cyber strikes targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport.
This pattern of behaviour demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences.
Jeremy Hunt, UK Foreign Secretary
As well as the World Anti-Doping Agency, GRU undermined transport systems in Ukraine and democratic elections, such as the 2016 US presidential race, according to the NCSC.
Mr Hunt said: “These cyber attacks serve no legitimate national security interest, instead impacting the ability of people around the world to go about their daily lives free from interference, and even their ability to enjoy sport.
“The GRU’s actions are reckless and indiscriminate: they try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries; they are even prepared to damage Russian companies and Russian citizens.
“This pattern of behaviour demonstrates their desire to operate without regard to international law or established norms and to do so with a feeling of impunity and without consequences. Our message is clear: together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU’s attempts to undermine international stability.”
The NCSC said it was “almost certainly” the GRU behind a “BadRabbit” attack in October 2017 that caused disruption to the Kiev metro, Odessa airport and Russia’s central bank, and Britain’s cyber security chiefs say they have “high confidence” Russian intelligence was responsible for a strike on WADA in August 2017.
WADA suspended RUSADA in 2016 and banned Russian athletes from competing in the Rio Olympics that year after finding them to be non-compliant with the body’s doping code, in the wake of the McLaren report into Russian state-sponsored doping.
WADA announced last month that RUSADA would be reinstated if it could meet a set of criteria for compliance by no later than June 30, 2019.