Albania suspended all online public services and government websites on Sunday after being targeted by a synchronised and sophisticated cyberattack from outside the country, Albanian National Agency for the Information Society (AKSHI) said in a statement. This was reported by Euronews.
The websites impacted by the suspension include Albania’s e-governance website e-Albania, which is similar to the MyGov website in India and is used by citizens to access government services. The e-Albania website was inaccessible on Monday as well. In addition to it, the websites of the Prime Minister’s Office and Parliament were also impacted.
“To withstand these unprecedented and dangerous strikes, we have been forced to close down government systems until the enemy attacks are neutralised,” AKSHI said.
AKSHI said that it is working with Microsoft, Jones Group International, and other Albanian companies from the ICT sector field to stop the cyberattack from causing further damage and compromising critical information.
Some social media users reported a leak of an Albanian database involving vehicle registration data.
Though the source of the attack is still unknown, the involvement of state-sponsored attackers working at the behest of Russia cannot be ruled out given the recent hostilities shown by Europe’s largest country towards its neighbours.
Last month, a state-sponsored distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack knocked out public and private websites in Norway for several hours, according to a Reuters report. Norwegian authorities then said that the attackers had targeted a secure national data network, which led to the temporary suspension of online services. Norway suspected the involvement of a pro-Russian hacker group.
Before invading Ukraine, Russia targeted several government services and banks with DDoS attacks to create panic.
According to an October 2021 report by Microsoft, Russia accounted for 58% of state-backed attacks, followed by North Korea (23%), Iran (11%), and China (8%).