Canada said Thursday it too was targeted by Russian cyber attacks, citing breaches at its center for ethics in sports and at the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency, after allies blamed Moscow for some of the biggest hacking plots of recent years.
“The government of Canada assesses with high confidence that the Russian military’s intelligence arm, the GRU, was responsible” for these cyber attacks, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Ottawa said these formed “part of a broader pattern of activities by the Russian government that lie well outside the bounds of appropriate behavior, demonstrate a disregard for international law and undermine the rules-based international order.”
And it called on “all those who value this order to come together in its defence.”
Allies accused Russia military intelligence of being behind an April attempt to gain access to official networks of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The Netherlands expelled four alleged agents and Britain and Australia pointed fingers at Russian military intelligence, while the United States charged seven Russian agents with hacking the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2016.
The Russia-based Fancy Bears computer hacking group leaked athletes’ medical records held by WADA, said the agency.
The same year, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport was “compromised by malware enabling unauthorized access to the Centre’s network,” the foreign ministry said.
WADA has faced a backlash over its decision last month to lift a ban on Russia’s anti-doping agency.
The agency had suspended RUSADA in November 2015 after declaring it non-compliant following revelations of a vast state-backed scheme to avoid drug testers.
A WADA report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren accused Russian authorities of running an elaborate doping program with the full support of the Russian Ministry of Sport and the Russian secret service (FSB).
The softening of WADA’s stance triggered outrage from athletes and national anti-doping agencies around the world, who have accused WADA of succumbing to pressure from the IOC.