Tirana Court received a prosecution request to arrest and question five public officials over the latest round of cyber attacks that crippled a number of state institutions.
The court’s response to the request has so far been labeled an “investigative secret.”
The prosecution request was submitted to the court earlier this week. It relates to the crime of “abuse of duty,” and charges five employees of not implementing adequate safety regulations against cyber attacks.
“The IT staff at DAP (public administration) could and should have requested a report from the economic operator contracted by DAP for the implementation and maintenance of the system in time, regarding the state in which this system was located, despite the lack of knowledge about how to implement the contract for the implementation of the administrata.al system,” said the prosecution office.
Albania has been targeted by several campaigns of cyber attacks since 15 July, when the government portal e-albania was attacked. Following this, hackers from the group “Homeland Justice” have been releasing reams of information- mostly from the State Information Service and police.
Tirana’s prosecution has banned domestic media from reporting on the content of the information leaks. The move has been slammed by journalists and media watchdogs within Albania as media censorship.
The group responsible for the hacking attacks is believed to be Iranian. Tirana is currently home to a group of Iranian dissidents called the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK); staff at the Iranian embassy in Tirana were expelled on 7 September in relation to the attacks.
In the weeks since, the hacking group has carried out a series of other campaigns against Albanian infrastructure. On 19 September, the group targeted the Traveler Information Management System (TIMS), causing chaos on the Albanian border.
The group has also released emails belonging to the former chief of police, Gledis Nano. Personal data belonging to Prime Minister Edi Rama and his wife, Helidon Bendo, director of the State Information Service, has also been released.
According to an FBI report, Iranian hackers first succeeded in accessing Albanian systems 14 months before the first of the cyber attacks was reported on 15 July. On that day, government services became unavailable for several days.
“An FBI investigation indicates Iranian state cyber actors acquired initial access to the victim’s network approximately 14 months before launching the destructive cyber attack [in July], which included a ransomware-style file encryptor and disk wiping malware,” reads the FBI’s report.
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