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The CIA logo in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Systematic security failures at an elite CIA hacking unit helped lead to the biggest information breach in the agency’s history, according to a partially declassified CIA report provided to Sen. Ron Wyden’s office.

Details: The 2017 report, first reported by the Washington Post, is a postmortem on the 2016 breach, conducted by the CIA’s WikiLeaks task force.

  • WikiLeaks revealed the data leak, known as Vault 7, in early 2017. Vault 7 revealed operations and exploits conducted and developed by the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, which houses the agency’s elite hackers.

What it says: “CIA has moved too slowly to put in place the safeguards that we knew were necessary given successive breaches to other U.S. Government agencies,” the report states.

  • The lack of “user monitoring” and other audit capabilities meant the CIA was unaware of the breach until WikiLeaks had actually published documents from the stolen tranche.
  • If a traditional nation-state adversary had stolen the information, and kept its possession of it secret, the CIA might still not know that its data had been breached at such a massive scale, says the report.

By the numbers: Between 180 gigabytes and 34 terabytes of information were pilfered, says the report, “roughly equivalent to 11.6 million to 2.2 billion pages in Microsoft Word.”

  • This is a huge range that reveals just how much uncertainty exists within the CIA over the extent of the damage.

The state of play: In 2018, U.S. prosecutors charged Joshua Schulte, a former CIA employee, of being WikiLeaks’ source for the Vault 7 leaks.

  • In March, Schulte’s trial ended in a hung jury, though he was convicted of lesser charges.
  • Prosecutors plan on retrying Schulte on espionage-related charges.

Go deeper

The hacking of Iran's hackers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

An Iranian cyber operations front organization that’s a target of new U.S. sanctions was itself the victim of an attack that looted its own hacking tools and dumped them on the internet two years ago.

Driving the news: Last week, amid increasing tensions between Washington and Tehran, the Treasury Department announced major new Iran-related sanctions targeting cyber operators working for Iranian intelligence. The sanctions targeted 45 individuals affiliated with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), Tehran’s main civilian intelligence agency.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

4 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.