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Albania Accuses Iran of Cyber-Attack and Cuts Diplomatic Ties with the Islamic Republic

Client Updates / Sep 28, 2022

Written by Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer

Albania has severed its diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran and ordered the Iranian embassy staff to leave the country, accusing the theocracy of perpetrating a cyber-attack against Albania.

Albania’s prime minister said that the cyber-attack attempted to cripple public services, destroy and steal government data and bring about turmoil. The prime minister indicated “irrefutable evidence” that Iran hired four groups of hackers to attack in July. The prime minister explained that the cyber-attacks were unsuccessful, and all systems returned to full operation. He said that the severance of relations is nevertheless in proportion to the severity and danger posed by the cyber-attack. Iran denied the allegations, calling them “baseless”. Iran’s Foreign Ministry also condemned the decision to expel Iran’s diplomats and stated that third parties may have been involved in pointing the finger at Iran.

The U.S. also strongly condemned the cyber-attack and emphasized that it would demand that Iran assume responsibility for actions that threaten Albania’s security. In August, the American cyber security company “Mandiant” announced that it “assesses with moderate confidence that one or multiple threat actors who have operated in support of Iranian goals are involved”. The vice president of the company stated that “this is possibly the strongest public response to a cyber-attack we have ever seen” and said that the attack was “a reminder that while the most aggressive Iranian cyber activity is generally focused in the Middle East region, it is by no means limited to it”.

Click here to read the Albanian Prime Minister’s statement.

Click here to read the U.S. National Security Council’s statement.