Albanian PM says Iranian hackers hit country with another cyberattack
Andreas Lehner/Flickr
Adam Janofsky September 12, 2022

Albanian PM says Iranian hackers hit country with another cyberattack

Albanian PM says Iranian hackers hit country with another cyberattack

Hackers linked to Iran’s government hit computer systems used by Albania’s national police to track people entering and leaving the country, Albanian officials announced over the weekend.

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote Saturday on Twitter that the cyberattack was “carried out by the same aggressors” who were behind a July attack that disrupted the country’s government services. 

The attack came shortly after the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on Iran’s primary intelligence agency and its top official for orchestrating the July attack. Albania announced last week that it had cut ties with Iran over the attack, and that it had shared “indisputable evidence” with allies that Iran was behind the incident.

The most recent attack struck the country’s Total Information Management System, or TIMS, which helps automate things like passport checks and cross-referencing people on fugitive databases.

The country’s Interior Ministry, in statements provided to the media, said the attack prompted authorities to shut down computer control systems at border crossings and airports.

On Sunday, Rama tweeted that service had been restored to those systems and the attack was contained.

“The systems of the border points have been in operation since this morning,” he wrote, according to a Google translation. “Beyond the heavy feeling that penetration into these systems creates, just like when they enter a house and steal, the fact is that the aggression has not achieved the goal at all, no trickle or leak.”

A spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that the country has been involved in any attack targeting Albania, calling the accusations “baseless” and “unproven.” The spokesman also condemned the sanctions imposed by the U.S., which targeted Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and its Minister of Intelligence Esmaeil Khatib.

Adam is the founding editor-in-chief of The Record by Recorded Future. He previously was the cybersecurity and privacy reporter for Protocol, and prior to that covered cybersecurity, AI, and other emerging technology for The Wall Street Journal.