English soccer’s governing body has reportedly advised staff and players to refrain from using WiFi at their team hotel or anywhere in public while in Russia for next summer’s World Cup. The reason, according to reports from the BBC and the Associated Press, is because of concerns over hacking, which the FA reportedly fears could result in leaked squad lists, injury reports and other details.
The FA’s advice to its staff and players comes a month after a hacking group with links to Russia published illegally obtained information, including a set of May emails to and from the FA and FIFA pertaining to four anti-doping cases.
— Fancy Bears' HT (@FancyBears) August 22, 2017
At the time of the leaks, which were published by Fancy Bears, the same group that was recently implicated for hacking the French election, the FA said it was “disappointed” with the disclosures, which included communication about two ongoing cases involving nonleague players.
The attack spurred the FA to address a letter to FIFA outlining their concerns about cyber security in Russia, which FIFA has promised to look into.
“We can confirm the FA has sent a letter to FIFA related to the Fancy Bears attack,” a FIFA spokesman said (via the Guardian) on Monday. “In its reply FIFA has informed the FA in such context that FIFA remains committed to preventing security attacks in general and that with respect to the Fancy Bears attack in particular it is presently investigating the incident to ascertain whether FIFA’s infrastructure was compromised. Such investigation is still ongoing.”
Russian World Cup organizers have not commented publicly on the reports.