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Albania Accuses Iran Of Second Cyberattack Days After Severing Ties With Tehran Over First One

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda September 10, 2022

Albania has suffered a new cyberattack, the Interior Ministry said on September 10, blaming Iran just days after Tirana broke diplomatic relations with Tehran over the first cyberattack.

The Interior Ministry said the computers of the Albanian national police were the target of the latest attack, which was discovered on September 9.

"The national police's computer systems were hit Friday by a cyberattack which, according to initial information, was committed by the same actors who in July attacked the country's public and government service systems," the ministry said in a statement.

Authorities shut down computer control systems at seaports, airports, and border posts "in order to neutralize the criminal act and secure the systems," the statement said.

Local media reported long lines at more than two border crossings in the south.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Twitter on September 10 that another cyberattack committed by "the same aggressors already condemned by Albania's friendly and allied countries" had been detected the night before.

Work continues "around the clock with our allies to make our digital systems impenetrable," he said.

Albania ordered Iranian officials out of the country on September 7 and severed diplomatic relations with Tehran following an investigation into the earlier cyberattack, which targeted the NATO member's digital infrastructure.

Tirana described "irrefutable" evidence that Tehran was behind the cyberattack.

The United States subsequently announced new sanctions against Iranian Intelligence and Security Minister Esmail Khatib and the ministry as a whole.

Iran on September 10 strongly condemned the U.S. sanctions.

"America's immediate support for the false accusation of the Albanian government...shows that the designer of this scenario is not the latter, but the American government," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said in a statement on September 10.

In addition to condemning the new sanctions, Kanani accused Washington of "giving full support to a terrorist sect," a reference to the banned opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO).

At the request of the United States and the United Nations, Albania agreed in 2013 to take in members of the MKO from Iraq, and thousands have since settled in the Balkan country.

"This criminal organization continues to play a role as one of America's tools in perpetrating terrorist acts, cyberattacks" against Iran, Kanani said, without providing evidence.

The MKO is an exiled political-militant organization that has advocated the overthrow of Iran's clerical regime and which Tehran regards as a terrorist organization.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-condemns-us- sanctions-cyberattack-albania/32027533.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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