Albania interrupted diplomatic ties with Iran over the mid-July attack Security Affairs

Albania interrupted diplomatic ties with Iran and expelled the country’s embassy staff over the mid-July attack.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that Albania interrupted diplomatic ties with Iran and expelled the country’s embassy staff over the massive cyber attack that hit the country in mid-July.

The cyberattack hit the servers of the National Agency for Information Society (AKSHI), which handles many government services. Most of the desk services for the population were interrupted, and only several important services, such as online tax filing, were working because they are provided by servers not targeted in the attack. Albania reported the attack to the NATO Member States and other allies.

According to a statement published by the government, the damages may be considered minimal compared to the goals of the threat actors.

The country’s Embassy staff was asked to leave Albany within 24 hours.

“The in-depth investigation provided us with indisputable evidence that the cyberattack against our country was orchestrated and sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran through the engagement of four groups that enacted the aggression – one of them being a notorious international cyber-terrorist group, which has been a perpetrator or co-perpetrator of earlier cyberattacks targeting Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and Cyprus.” Albanian Prime Minister Rama said. “An official notice of the decision has been sent to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, asking that all the diplomatic, technical and administrative, and security staff leave within 24 hours the territory of the Republic of Albania.

This extreme response, one that is unwanted but totally forced on us, is fully proportionate to the gravity and risk of the cyberattack that threatened to paralyse public services, erase digital systems and hack into State records, steal Government intranet electronic communication and stir chaos and insecurity in the country.

The United States government issued a statement condemning Iran for attacking Albania.

“The United States strongly condemns Iran’s cyberattack against our NATO Ally, Albania. We join in Prime Minister Rama’s call for Iran to be held accountable for this unprecedented cyber incident. The United States will take further action to hold Iran accountable for actions that threaten the security of a US ally and set a troubling precedent for cyberspace.” US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said. “We have concluded that the Government of Iran conducted this reckless and irresponsible cyberattack and that it is responsible for subsequent hack and leak operations.”

The relations between Albania and Iran have deteriorated since the government of Tirana offered asylum to thousands of Iranian dissidents.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs hacking, Iran)

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