An employee who seized two billion information pages and secret hacking tools
CNN revealed that the CIA suffered the largest data theft incident in its history, as one of its employees took advantage of its concern to build a cyber-weapons division and stole secret hacking tools and sent it to WikiLeaks.
An agency’s internal report, published on Tuesday 16 June 2020, said that the employee exploited the “laxly” security system and did it, while the stolen hacking tools in the 2016 security breach came from the Secret Cyber Intelligence Center (CCI).
Stolen data: The memo said that the amount of stolen data is unknown, but it can be up to 34 terabytes of data, which is equivalent to 2.2 billion text pages, according to the US CNN website.
To that, the theft was revealed almost a year later, in March 2017, when WikiLeaks published what it claimed was the largest treasure trove of the CIA, and called it “Vault 7,” and contains details of some of the agency’s most sophisticated cyber weapons Intelligence, and the Washington Post has already talked about it.
The incident led the agency’s WikiLeaks task force to conduct a review, whose findings, in a report dated October 2017, were delivered to then agency director Mike Pompeo, his then deputy director and current agency director, Gina Hasbel.
A clear failure: In a clear confession, the authors of the report wrote: “We failed to know whether a person or persons holding a permit to access classified intelligence information posed an unacceptable risk to national security”.
The report continues: “In an ongoing quest to meet the requirements of the increasingly important tasks, the Cyber Intelligence Center has prioritized building cyber weapons at the expense of securing systems, until security measures have become lax”.
The extent of the damage: The report stresses that the intelligence agency was not aware of the extent of the damage, because the center’s system, unlike other parts of the agency’s IT systems, “did not require monitoring user activity or other protections”.
The report adds that the center focused on developing cyber weapons and neglected to prepare packages to avoid damage if these tools are exposed.
Hacking process: The leaked material, published by WikiLeaks in 2017, indicates that the CIA has the largest hacking operation in the world, as it infiltrates high-tech phones and TVs to spy on people around the world.
The leaked information, published by WikiLeaks in the “Treasury Series Seven” series, also contains information on the agency’s alleged targeting of individuals through malware and physical penetration of devices including telephones, computers and televisions.
Moreover, in order to conceal its operations, the intelligence agency followed methods that enabled its hijackers to appear as Russians, according to documents published by WikiLeaks.
At the time, WikiLeaks claimed that the agency’s entire arsenal of privacy-breaking cyber weapons had been stolen, and these devices may have fallen into the hands of foreign criminals and spies.