Albania suffers second cyberattack and blames Iran

Albania has suffered a new cyberattack, the country’s interior ministry said on Saturday, blaming Iran which Tirana has also accused of previously attacking its digital systems.

“The national police’s computer systems were hit on Friday by a cyberattack which, according to initial information, was carried out by the same actors who attacked the country’s public services and government systems in July,” the ministry said in a statement. a statement.

“In order to neutralize the criminal act and secure the systems,” authorities shut down computer control systems at seaports, airports and border crossings, the statement said.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Edi Rama denounced “a new cyberattack (committed by) the same aggressors already condemned by countries friends and allies of Albania”.

Albania blamed Iran for the July attack and on Wednesday severed diplomatic ties over the matter.

The two countries have been bitter enemies for years, ever since the Balkan state began hosting members of the opposition People’s Mojahedin of Iran, or Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), on its soil.

Rama on Wednesday accused Iran of leading a cyberattack on Albanian institutions on July 15 with the aim of “crippling public services and hacking data and electronic communications from government systems.”

It was the first time Tirana had spoken about the alleged attack.

“The Council of Ministers has decided to sever diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran with immediate effect,” Rama said.

“This attack did not achieve its objective. The damage can be considered minimal compared to the attacker’s objectives. All systems returned to full operation and there was no irreversible data erasure.”

The prime minister went on to say that Iranian diplomats and embassy staff had 24 hours to leave the country.

Iranian denials

Iran dismissed the accusation that it was behind the cyberattack as “baseless” and called Albania’s decision to sever diplomatic ties “a reckless and short-sighted action”.

“Iran, as one of the target countries of cyberattacks against its critical infrastructure, rejects and condemns any use of cyberspace as a tool to attack critical infrastructure of other countries,” its foreign ministry said.

The United States on Friday announced sanctions against Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and its Minister Esmail Khatib for Tehran’s alleged involvement.

The Islamic republic has also been the target of cyberattacks, including in 2010 when the Stuxnet virus – believed to have been engineered by Israel and the United States – infected its nuclear program.

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