TIRANA, Albania – December 26, 2023
Albania’s political landscape was rattled on Monday when its Parliament encountered a severe disruption caused by a cyberattack, forcing a temporary suspension of its operations. The assailants targeted the Parliament with the intent to breach its data and initiate a wipeout, triggering an immediate response from cybersecurity experts.
In an official statement issued on Tuesday, the Parliament sought to allay public concerns by assuring that the cyberattack had not compromised the integrity of its data system. Nevertheless, cybersecurity experts are diligently probing the incident to ascertain the full scope of potential consequences. The statement underscored that normal services would resume once the situation had been thoroughly addressed.
The gravity of the cyber threat expanded beyond the Parliament, with local media reporting additional attacks on a cellphone provider and an air flight company on the same day. These incidents were purportedly orchestrated by Iranian-based hackers known as Homeland Justice, although independent verification of these claims remains a challenge.
This recent cyber onslaught follows Albania’s prior encounter with cyber threats in July 2022, attributed to the Iranian Foreign Ministry. The fallout from that attack, linked to Albania providing shelter to members of the “Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK),” resulted in the severance of diplomatic relations between Albania and Iran.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry denied involvement, asserting that Iran had been a victim of cyberattacks initiated by the MEK. The ongoing investigation into the recent cyberattack aims to identify the perpetrators and fortify Albania’s cybersecurity measures to prevent future incidents. The international community, including the European Union, NATO, and the United States, continues to support Albania in navigating both diplomatic challenges and the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.