Albanian Government Website Hacked, Services Shut Down Temporarily
Albanian government website and services down due to a cyberattack
Albanian government working hard to bring back websites online after cyberattack
On Monday, the Albanian government’s official website was taken down because of a major cyberattack.
Apparently, the “wide and complex” attacks began on Friday and aimed to damage the government infrastructure along with other public services, according to a statement.
It seems the hackers started off as a ransomware attack while trying to hit the critical system and attempt to make them unfunctional, according to the government.
The statement continued that it was the “method used by the hackers was identical with the last year’s attacks seen in international cyberspace.” Specifically, countries like Belgium, Lithuania, Germany, the Netherlands, and Malta suffered from such cyberattacks.
So far, the hackers responsible for the attack haven’t been identified.
A statement was released for the local news media by Albania’s National Agency of Information Society. They said the agency was “forced to temporarily close access to online public services and other government websites” due to a “synchronized and sophisticated cybercriminal attack from outside Albania.”
However, the government officials refused to address questions of where the attacks may have possibly originated from. In May, the government closed down a number of walk-in administrative offices and shifted to public services for an online portal in an attempt to be more efficient and cut down on corruption.
Many media outlets noted that a few of the government services are still functional, such as the country’s tax filing portal that operates on a different server entirely.
According to the agency,
“In order to withstand these unprecedented and dangerous strikes, we have been forced to shut down government systems until the enemy attacks are neutralized.”
The statement also added that the government is working hand-in-hand with Microsoft, cybersecurity consulting company Jones International Group, and many other Albanian security companies “to prevent this cyberattack from damaging or compromising Albanian information systems.”
According to NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet outages globally, the real-time network data recorded the service was affected on Saturday at 9pm local time.
⚠️ Confirmed: #Albania‘s National Agency for Information Society (AKSHI) network has been temporarily shut down to counter a major cyberattack; real-time network data show service cut for hours beginning Saturday night, impacting online government services 📉 pic.twitter.com/jkqCi8deaS
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) July 17, 2022
The Director of NetBlocks Alp Toker explained:
“Metrics tend to support the Prime Minister’s Office statement that describes this as a defensive measure to protect AKSHI against a targeted threat, rather than a direct impact of the kind we might see in a distributed denial of service attack.”
“Several government services including Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and e-government gateway used by businesses and citizens are hosted on the government network and have been sent offline.”
The government has assured the public that the data stored on the government’s website is “safe and intact.”
He also added, “Fortunately, the rapid detection and response to these attacks meant that government systems emerged unscathed.”