Coe contrite after medical data hacked

ZURICH • Athletes who have applied for Therapeutic Use Exemptions since 2012 could soon find their private medical records in the public domain, prompting International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe to issue an apology.

Track and field's global governing body said on Monday that its computer network had been compromised by the same Russian cyber espionage group that US intelligence have tied to a broad effort to influence the US presidential election.

IAAF said the hackers were able to gain access to athletes' data, and that it discovered the attacks on Feb 21. It attributed them to Fancy Bears, a group that stole records from global anti-doping regulators last year, after the regulator had recommended Russia be barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Intelligence officials have linked Fancy Bears to Russia's military intelligence agency. The IAAF said it had consulted with authorities in Britain and Monaco, where the organisation has its headquarters.

"Our first priority is to the athletes who have provided the IAAF with information that they believed would be confidential," Coe said.

"They have our sincerest apologies and our total commitment to continue to do everything in our power to remedy the situation."

Last year, Fancy Bears hacked the database of the World Anti-Doping Agency, as well as the e-mail account of an employee from the US Anti-Doping Agency .

Through the end of 2016, they published the confidential medical information of more than 100 athletes, including tennis star Serena Williams and British ex-cyclist Bradley Wiggins.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'Coe contrite after medical data hacked'. Print Edition | Subscribe