After the 2016 Olympics, according to the indictment, the Russians published the private information they stole—including nearly 250 athletes’ personal medical information—using the Fancy Bears hacktivist group website and social media accounts. In some cases, the Russians modified the information to make it look as though non-Russian athletes were doping who were not actually doing so.
“This began with a disclosure of a Russian state-sponsored doping program for its athletes. In other words, Russia cheated,” said U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady of the Western District of Pennsylvania at a news conference today at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. “They cheated; they got caught. They were banned from the Olympics. They were mad, and they retaliated. And in retaliating, they broke the law—so they are criminals.”
The indictment describes a variety of tactics used by the Russian hackers during this campaign, including spear-phishing, distributed denial of service attacks, spoofing legitimate web domains, and using cryptocurrencies to cover their tracks.
As a result of the indictment, the operatives, all of whom are Russian citizens and are believed to be living in Russia, will no longer have the benefit of anonymity—which is prized among state-sponsored cyber criminals. Publicly identifying the hackers in an indictment, known as “naming and shaming,” hampers their ability to operate, particularly in traveling outside Russia.