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Cyberattack forces Albanian government to shut down websites

Albania’s National Agency of Information Society has reported that it has had to shut down several online public services and government websites, including the Parliament, Prime Minister’s Office, and an e-government gateway used by businesses and citizens alike, as a protection measure against a cyberattack from outside the country. 

In a statement given to local news, the agency stated that the government is working with Microsoft, cybersecurity firm jones International Group and several other Albanian security companies to prevent the cyberattack from causing further damage. 

The attack comes just months after the Albanian government had shifted most of its public sector services in favour of an online portal, e-Albania. The process started in May and was intended to be more efficient and less prone to corruption by bringing said services to citizens. 

Internet outage tracker Netblock also confirmed these outages, stating that real-time network data indicated that services were first cut on 9 PM local time on Saturday. The metrics seem to support the Prime Minister’s Office statement describing the outage as a defensive measure against a targeted cyberattack. 

It’s unknown where the cyber attack originated or what the attackers want. Albanian Daily News reports that the attack was discovered at noon on Friday through cybersecurity monitoring platforms set up for government systems and infrastructures. There have been as many as five attacks on Ukraine and one in Germany that put a wind energy production plant out of service using the same method. 

The Prime Minister’s office has reassured citizens that all their data is safe and backed up and that systems would be individually verified before they’re brought back online. The websites are still down at the time of writing.

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