The UK’s Anti-Doping agency has been hit with a total of 11,148 malicious emails in the final three months of last year, according to research from Parliament Street think tank. The data collected via the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act provided insight into the large number of spam and malicious emails blocked by UKAD in Q4 2019. The total number of spam and malicious emails blocked by UKAD from 10th October 2019 to 31 October 2019 was 3,218.

In November 2019, the total amount of emails blocked was 4,244 and in December 2019 the total number of emails blocked was 3,686. It is understood that none of the attacks were successful.

The organisation reported a total of 2,312 phishing emails in this period. In October 2019 the number of phishing attacks was 612, rising to 874 in November and 853 emails for December. In addition, there were 4 malware emails blocked by UKAD during October: 7 during November and 41 in November. The UK Anti-Doping is a national organisation dedicated to confidence in clean sport.

Through raising awareness of the issues in an extensive education and smart testing programme, the organisation helps athletes to understand and follow the rules as well as prosecuting offenders.

The cyber risks associated with anti-doping organisations hit the headlines in 2016, when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed that cyber hacking group “Fancy Bears” had released a batch of confidential athlete data on its website. The data included information relating to Mo Farah and Rafael Nadal among other high- profile sportspeople.

Andy Harcup, VP, Absolute Software told The Commentator: “These figures are a reminder of the cyber security hurdles faced by athletics and sports organisations tasked with managing confidential data of high-profile individuals. Many of these agencies require staff members to travel regularly, meaning mobile devices like laptops and tablets are a top target for hackers and opportunistic thieves.

Addressing this problem requires all organisations to embrace a resilience-first approach to cyber security. This means making critical apps self-healing and gathering insights to remedy end-point vulnerabilities, so that hackers are kept locked out. Additionally, having the ability to track, freeze and wipe lost devices will guarantee that lost or stolen devices containing highly confidential data is protected at all times, in all circumstances.”

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