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Israel offers cyber-defence aid to Albania following Iranian attack

September 13, 2022 at 3:38 pm

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll met with Albania’s Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka at a conference in Berlin on 12 September 2022 [@idanroll/Twitter]

Israel has offered cyber-defence assistance to Albania in response to Iran’s cyber-attack in July, which resulted in the leak of documents from the Tirana government and personal data about Albanian citizens.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll met with Albania’s Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka at a conference in Berlin yesterday, and “offered to share Israel’s knowledge and experience in cyber defence.” Roll also “expressed Israel’s appreciation” of Tirana’s decision to expel Iranian diplomats. “We will continue to tighten cooperation between Israel and Albania,” he said on Twitter.

Albania cut diplomatic ties with Tehran last week due to the cyber-attack. The Albanian government said that Iran launched the attack in order to paralyse public facilities and gain access to data in government departments. Prime Minister Edi Rama said that an investigation determined that the July attack wasn’t carried out by individuals or independent groups. “It was state aggression.”

The two countries have had tense relations since 2014, when Albania accepted some 3,000 members of the exiled opposition group People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran, also known by its Farsi name Mujahideen-e-Khalq. They have settled in a camp near Durres, the country’s main port. Albania said previously that it had foiled a number of planned attacks by Iranian agents against the opposition group.

READ: US imposes sanctions on Iran over cyber activities, cyber attack on Albania

Moreover, Washington imposed sanctions on the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and National Security and its Minister Esmail Khatib, after it revealed that Tehran was behind the unprecedented cyber-attack against NATO member Albania. The US Treasury claimed that the Iranian ministry runs several networks for electronic espionage, hacking and ransomware.

“Iran’s cyber-attack against Albania disregards norms of responsible peacetime state behaviour in cyberspace, which includes a norm on refraining from damaging critical infrastructure that provides services to the public,” said US Under-Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E Nelson.