Russian hackers post 'medical files' of Simone Biles, Serena Williams

Russian hackers post 'medical files' of Simone Biles, Serena Williams

Hackers linked to the Russian government have posted online what they say are the Olympic drug-testing files of four U.S. athletes, including Serena Williams and gymnastics champion Simone Biles.

The World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed Tuesday that a cyber-espionage group known as Fancy Bear illegally hacked its database of Olympic athletes for the 2016 Rio games, but had no comment on whether the files posted were authentic. NBC News has not confirmed that the files are authentic or, if authentic, are unaltered.

RELATED: Athletes respond to leaked medical records

NBC News reported details of the suspected hack of WADA files Aug. 27, saying it was part of the same covert influence campaign by the Putin regime to target numerous U.S. government, political organizations and other perceived enemies and potentially disrupt the November election. U.S. officials have linked Fancy Bear to GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency.

Russian athletes were banned from the Rio Olympics — and Paralympics — after WADA’s recommendation to ban them due to evidence of widespread doping.

In a detailed statement Tuesday, WADA confirmed a broad cyber-penetration of its Anti-doping Administration and Management System, known as the ADAMS database. It also said law enforcement authorities had traced the breach to hackers “originating out of Russia” known as Tsar Team (APT28), “also known as Fancy Bear,” and that they had illegally gained access via an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-created account.

The hackers posted statements online claiming that they were going public with information about the U.S. athletes to show the U.S. won a large number of medals at the Olympics through cheating.

A post on the website Fancybear.net said the group was “shocked with what we saw” and that a review of hacked WADA files showed “that dozens of American athletes had tested positive” for banned substances, in cases in which they had been given official approval to use them due to extenuating circumstances.

“We are going to tell you how Olympic medals are won,” it warned. “We will start with the U.S. team which has disgraced its name by tainted victories. We will also disclose exclusive information about other national Olympic teams later.”

The website alleges that the U.S. athletes “got their licenses for doping …This is other evidence that WADA and IOC’s Medical and Scientific Department are corrupt and deceitful.”

The website said Biles, who won four gold medals in Rio, tested positive sometime in August 2016 after methylphenidate “was detected in her sample.” The drug is sold under various trade names, including Ritalin, and commonly used to treat ADHD.

The site also alleged Serena Williams had taken painkillers and anti-inflammatories. NBC News does not have confirmation that the claim is accurate.

The site also posted what it said were files from Venus Williams and basketball player Elena Delle Donne.

Representatives of the athletes could not be immediately reached, but Simone Biles responded to the hack via Twitter.

“I have ADHD and have taken medicine for it since I was a kid. Please know, I believe in clean sport, have always followed the rules, and will continue to do so as fair play is critical to sport and is very important to me.”

Elena Delle Donne also responded to the hack via Twitter: “I’d like to thank the hackers for making the world aware that I legally take a prescription for a condition I’ve been diagnosed with, which WADA granted me an exemption for. Thanks, guys!”

Travis Tygart, the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency also tweeted a statement. “It’s unthinkable that in the Olympic movement,” he said, “hackers would illegally obtain confidential medical information in an attempt to smear athletes to make it look as if they have done something wrong. The athletes haven’t. In fact, in each of the situations, the athlete has done everything right in adhering to the global rules for obtaining permission to use a needed medication.”

The purported files for Williams and Biles, for example, showed that the athletes had been granted exemptions for “therapeutic use,” which is permitted under Olympic rules.

Tygart stopped short of saying the files were authentic.

In a statement, WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said the international organization “condemns these ongoing cyber-attacks that are being carried out in an attempt to undermine WADA and the global anti-doping system. … WADA deeply regrets this situation and is very conscious of the threat that it represents to athletes whose confidential information has been divulged through this criminal act.”

Added Niggli: “These criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia further to the outcomes of the Agency’s independent McLaren Investigation Report.”

A spokeswoman for WADA told NBC News that the anti-doping agency would have no further comment at this time.

Niggli said WADA was taking the hacks extremely seriously, cooperating with all relevant law enforcement agencies and doing internal and external security vulnerability checks. And, he said, “We are reaching out to stakeholders, such as the [International Olympic Committee and participating countries] regarding the specific athletes impacted.”

While many key details were unavailable, the alleged posting of athlete information gained through the cyberintrusions appears to go beyond an incident in mid-August, when details about the hack of Russian athlete and whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova’s ADAMS account was disclosed. As in Stepanova’s case, WADA believes hackers illegally gained access to private accounts through “spearphishing” efforts to gained access to their passwords.

Initially, WADA said hackers never breached ADAMS or the accounts of other athletes besides Stepanova. In its Aug. 27 report, NBC News said personal information purporting to be from many other athletes had started mysteriously popping up online in mid-August.

U.S. security officials blame Fancy Bear for cyber-attacks on various Democratic Party organizations including the Democratic National Committee, as well as some accounts at the White House, State Department and the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Russian officials have denied playing any role in the various hacks attributed to Fancy Bear and another hacking organization known as Cozy Bear that is believed to be sponsored by a separate Russian intelligence organization.

Lawyers: Chelsea Manning to receive gender transition surgery

Lawyers: Chelsea Manning to receive gender transition surgery

WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) – U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning, serving a 35-year prison term for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, ended her hunger strike on Tuesday after the Army said she would be allowed to receive gender transition surgery, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said.

The 28-year-old Army private, who was born male but revealed after being convicted of espionage that she identifies as a woman, announced the hunger strike on Friday.

RELATED: Images of Chelsea Manning

Manning’s treatment will begin with the surgery that was recommended by her psychologist in April, the ACLU, which represented Manning, said in a statement. Manning is held in Kansas.

No transgender inmate has ever before received gender affirming surgical treatment in prison, the ACLU said.

“I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing. I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted – for them to let me be me,” Manning said in a statement, though she went on to criticize the government for taking “so long.”

A spokesman for the defense department said it would not comment on the matter in order to protect patient confidentiality.

Manning in July tried to commit suicide over what her representatives said was the government’s denial of appropriate treatment for her gender dysphoria, a condition in which a person feels their physical gender is the opposite of the one he or she identifies with.

The Army announced later that month that it would investigate Manning for misconduct in connection with the attempt to take her own life, a probe that could lead to indefinite solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security or additional prison time.

According to Manning’s representatives, doctors have recommended that as part of her treatment for gender dysphoria the soldier, who began hormone therapy in 2015, be allowed to follow “female hair grooming standards.”

ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio said in Tuesday’s statement that the government plans to still enforce the male hair standards.

Manning, a former intelligence analyst in Iraq, was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison after a military court conviction of providing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. The case ranked as the biggest breach of classified materials in U.S. history.

Among the files Manning leaked in 2010 was a gunsight video of a U.S. Apache helicopter firing on suspected Iraqi insurgents in 2007, an attack that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.

(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington and Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Andrew Hay)

How sanitary is your toothbrush?

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Don't update to iOS 10 yet — it appears to be breaking people's phones

Don't update to iOS 10 yet — it appears to be breaking people's phones

Apple released iOS 10, the latest version of its software for iPhones and iPads, on Tuesday.

You can download it now. But you might not want to.

Many people on social media, and in our office, are reporting that the update process isn’t going as smoothly as it has in years past.

SEE ALSO: How to download iOS 10, Apple’s huge new iPhone update

Several iPhone users have told me that the upgrade process is failing. The update is asking them to plug their phones into iTunes.

If you update your phone and you’re not by a computer, that means you might not be able to use your phone until you find a desktop running iTunes.

One user told me that his phone gave him only two options when he plugged it in — “update” and “restore.” The top image is an example of how his installation went wrong.

RELATED: See the iPhone 7 debut

But once your phone is plugged into a computer running iTunes, the update goes mostly smoothly — and it won’t erase your data. Here’s Apple’s advice:

If you still see the Connect to iTunes screen after you restart, you need to reinstall iOS:

  1. Connect your device to your computer using the cable that came with your device. You should see this message: “The software on [your device name] needs to be restored to factory settings or updated.”
  2. Click Update to reinstall iOS. Your personal data is preserved.

Loads of people on social media are reporting the same thing. We’ve asked Apple what’s going on, and will update when we know more.

NOW WATCH: These secret codes let you access hidden iPhone features

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Ohio EMS crew finds human heart sealed in a Ziploc bag

Ohio EMS crew finds human heart sealed in a Ziploc bag

Fields are filled with all sorts of objects discarded by people, like soda cans, food wrappers, and, it seems, human hearts.

Actually, it was only one heart, likely human and sealed in a Ziploc bag.

A crew of EMS workers in Norwalk, Ohio came upon the organ in late August as they walked through a field, reports CBS News.

Nobody really knew what to make of it at first, but it was eventually sent to the coroner’s office for a thorough examination.

Authorities are hoping the exam will provide clues as to where it came from.

According to an officer with the Norwalk Police Department, some possible origins have been largely ruled out.

Sgt. Jim Fulton told BuzzFeed News, “From the condition of the heart, it doesn’t appear we have a Jack the Ripper type of case going on. We don’t want the public to worry. Like someone ripping out people’s hearts — we don’t think that’s the case here.”

RELATED: 7 surprising finds of an unhealthy heart

For now, the incident is officially categorized as an “Unusual Occurrence.”