On Security

The Long Arm of Russian Intelligence

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Aug 25, 2016 | 08:00 GMT
Hackers targeted a former Russian track star's personal information in a recent data breach, highlighting a new resource that the Russian government can use in striking out at dissidents.
Hackers targeted a former Russian track star's personal information in a recent data breach, highlighting a new resource that the Russian government can use in striking out at dissidents.
(THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

After Russian 800-meter runner Yulia Stepanova and her husband exposed the systematic state-sponsored doping regimen pervasive in Russian athletics, the couple and their young son fled to the United States, fearing for their safety. Now it seems that their fears were well founded. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced Aug. 13 that hackers had illegally accessed Stepanova's account in an agency database, which contains, among other personal information, her family's address in the United States. (Athletes are required to maintain current address information in the WADA system to facilitate unscheduled, off-competition drug testing.) WADA also noted that no other accounts had been accessed in the data breach, suggesting that Stepanova, who has since moved again with her family, was the specific target of the hack. That someone's personal information was compromised by a data intrusion is hardly surprising in this age of widespread hacking. It is unusual, however, for hackers...

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