North Macedonia’s Education Ministry confirmed that it had been the target of a hacking attack over the last few days. The ministry did not disclose whether any damage was inflicted, or if information had been stolen as a result of the hacking.
Video footage published on the Twitter account of a hacking group “Powerful Greek Army” went viral over the weekend, with the group claiming to have successfully hacked North Macedonia’s Ministry of Education and Science using camera surveillance footage as proof.
The so-called Powerful Greek Army published the short video on Twitter on 4 February, claiming “we have access even in their camera systems, we watch you 24/7, we have eyes everywhere, Skopje.”
Hacking attacks are not uncommon in North Macedonia. In July 2020, attacks took down the websites of both the health and education ministries, leading experts to call for more sophisticated technology protections for government infrastructure.
“There should be a single protection system that would cover all government electronic services including agencies, ministries, local governments, and any legal entity or state body,” Skopje-based cybersecurity consultant Mane Piperevski told journalists in 2020.
“This can be achieved by having a state-level Security Operation Center with mixed ownership (51:49 in favor of the state). The joint protection system would be under the leadership of the company that would be in charge of this Security Operation Center,” he continued.
In a separate attack that same year, hacking group “Anonopsmkd” claimed responsibility for an attack which took down the country’s most popular new aggregator site TIME.mk. The denial of service attack involved more than 35 million addresses generating thousands of clicks per second, and coincided with a tight parliamentary election.
In February 2021, North Macedonia and NATO signed a deal to improve cyber defense cooperation and assistance by facilitating information-sharing on threats and best practices.
‘We take cyber security very seriously,” said Radmila Shekerinska, North Macedonia’s Minister of Defence, at the time of the signing, “[the agreement] represents a serious contribution to strengthening our national capacities for dealing with cyber attacks, as well as the Alliance’s resilience in general.”
The Greek hacking group behind the events over the weekend is not unknown to the North Macedonian public. In May 2020, Powerful Greek Army leaked dozens of email addresses and passwords from staffers in North Macedonia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, and boasted about it on Twitter.