Albania has suffered a renewed cyberattack, the country’s interior ministry said on Saturday, blaming Iran which Tirana also accused of an earlier assault on its digital systems.
“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.
Albania blamed Iran for the July attack and on Wednesday cut diplomatic ties over the affair.
The two countries have been bitter foes for years, since the Balkan state began hosting members of the opposition People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, or Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), on its soil.
Prime Minister Edi Rama on Wednesday accused Iran of directing a cyberattack against Albanian institutions on July 15 in a bid to “paralyze public services and hack data and electronic communications from the government systems.”
It was the first time Tirana spoke about the alleged attack.
“The Council of Ministers has decided on the severance of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran with immediate effect,” said Rama.
“The said attack failed its purpose. Damages may be considered minimal compared to the goals of the aggressor. All systems came back fully operational and there was no irreversible wiping of data.”
The prime minister went on to say that Iranian diplomats and embassy staff had 24 hours to leave the country.
Iran rejected the accusation it was behind the cyberattack as “baseless” and called Albania’s decision to sever diplomatic ties “an ill-considered and short-sighted action.”