Cyberattack blocks Albania’s online public services

TIRANA, Albania — The Albanian government said on Monday that its webpage and all those of public institutions were shut down following a cyberattack from an undisclosed source.

A statement said a “large and complex” cyberattack began on Friday afternoon, after which all government infrastructure and systems were isolated.

It started as a ransomware attack in which hackers tried to hit critical systems, aiming to render them inoperable, he said.

The statement said “the method used by the hackers was identical to last year’s attacks seen in international cyberspace”, mentioning those in Ukraine, Germany, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Fortunately, early detection allowed critical government systems to shut down, adding that they are all “backed up and safe,” the statement said. He said Albanian authorities were working with experts from Microsoft and the US-based Jones Group International to resolve the situation “and get it back to normal”.

The blocking of public services has affected many individuals and businesses. The Home Office said police and key civic services would temporarily be offered in person at their offices.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, expects to start full membership negotiations with the European Union soon. For the past two years, Albania has also been a temporary member of the UN Security Council.

Veronica J. Snell