Montenegro’s Agency for National Security (ANB) said government servers had been the target of two Russian cyber-attacks in the last week.
Representatives from ANB told reporters that Montenegro is currently in a so-called hybrid war.
“Coordinated Russian services are behind the cyber-attack,” the ANB said, “This kind of attack was carried out for the first time in Montenegro, and it has been prepared for a long period of time.”
According to the announcement, the government reported the first series of Russian cyber-attacks on its server on August 22. It managed to prevent any damage.
Then, on Friday, the outgoing Minister of Public Administration Maras Dukaj said government servers had come under another attack. In this instance, authorities took defensive measures, and some servers were taken temporarily offline.
The outgoing Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic described the Russian cyber-attacks as politically motivated and dangerous. He called a National Security Council session regarding the attacks on Friday.
“Citizens’ personal data is completely safe for now and all direct attacks on the government and its institutions have been suppressed,” Abazovic said, “The first attack happened a few hours after the government’s no-confidence vote last week. I warned it could lead to destabilisation.”
Abazovic’s minority government was dissolved on August 19 after parliament backed a vote of no-confidence called by President Milo Djukanovic’s party.
Prime Minister Abazovic, leader of the Civic Movement URA, was appointed to office in April this year, making his government one with the shortest period of rule in Montenegrin political history.
The Minister of Defence Rasko Konjevic has called on authorities to investigate this latest series of Russian cyber-attacks, and provide evidence for government claims.
Konjevic’s Social Democratic Party backed the no-confidence initiative earlier this month.
On March 1, Montenegro joined the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared several Russian diplomats persona non grata on the National Security Agency’s advice.
On March 7, Russia added Montenegro to a list of “enemy states,” accusing the country of acting against Moscow.
Relations between Russia and Montenegro have cooled considerably in recent years.
In 2014, Montenegro joined EU and US sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
Then, in 2016, Montenegro accused Moscow of supporting a failed coup attempt purportedly aimed at blocking Montenegro from joining NATO.
In 2019, Montenegro’s Higher Court sentenced 13 people to custodial sentences for staging the attempted coup. The group included two leaders of the pro-Serbian Democratic Front, two Russian intelligence officers, and eight Serbs.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pixabay