After Doping Scandal, Russia Hacked the Olympics, U.S. and Britain Say

After Doping Scandal, Russia Hacked the Olympics, U.S. and Britain Say


He said Russia’s behavior “hasn’t changed one bit” and the lack of a meaningful punishment, in his view, has only emboldened Russia.

“The powers that be don’t have the courage to stand up to Russia even when they damage and maybe permanently damage the Olympic brand and the Olympic values,” Tygart said. “If a toddler keeps getting what it asks for and keeps disobeying the rules, why would they act differently?”

For German fencer, Max Hartung, who set up a German athletes’ representation group after the I.O.C.’s handling of the Russian doping scandal, the new accusations show how precarious even the biggest events can be. “If a big nation state wants to sabotage sports events there’s probably no means by which a sport event can defend itself from such a nation,” he said.

Russia’s efforts to disrupt the 2018 Winter Olympics started several months before the event, and gathered pace as the I.O.C. in 2017 considered barring Russia from the Games for its doping activities. Once the ban was confirmed, operatives from a unit of the Russian intelligence Main Directorate, usually referred to as the G.R.U., dug in, American prosecutors said.

The role of the spy agency described in the scheme bears some hallmarks to how the doping program operated, when officers from a separate organization, the Federal Security Bureau, the main successor agency to the K.G.B., took part in clandestine, middle of the night operations to replace drug tainted urine samples with clean ones at the Sochi Olympics.

In the Olympics hack, G.R.U. operatives sent emails to members of the International Olympic Committee, athletes and other companies posing as Olympic or South Korean government officials to trick the recipients into giving them access to key Olympics infrastructure. At one point, they hacked a company that provided time-keeping services to the Olympics, according to court papers.

With their trap set, Russian officers sent event organizers into a frenzy by targeting the opening ceremony of the Games, taking down internet access, disrupting signals, grounding broadcasters’ drones and taking down the official website, which prevented spectators from printing tickets required to attend the Games.



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