After being a target of multiple cyberattacks, Albania yet again witnessed another ambush after cybercriminals posted several confidential documents including details of assassination plots against the Albanian and Kosovo politicians on Monday.
According to a report, skilled sniper and alleged murderer in Kosovo and Montenegro Prek Kodra was hired to conduct the assassination along with two others. The cybercriminals used a website called ‘Homeland Security’ to threaten the government with the stolen information.
Plots to assassinate
As per reports, a document in the hacked data claimed that the counter-terrorism unit in Kosovo was alerted regarding the assassination plan of Prime Minister Albin Kurti. It further mentioned the intent to kill two more individuals to create chaos in the country. A document about assassinating the former Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha was also found.
The cybercriminals also published details about the former Director of the State Police, Gledis Nano, who was a part of the anti-terror unit. The documents contained details of Nano visiting and leaving the country, along with his photographs taken over the past few years. A reference to an on-the-run wanted criminal who worked and was expelled from the Russian embassy in 2021 was also found in the documents.
Findings of the cyber-espionage so far
Since Monday, the attackers have published several documents containing emails and memos between politicians, authorities, and ambassadors. They have been using the Telegram channel of Homeland Security to publish the same.
Following the incident, media channels, including audio-visual media, print, online and social networks, have been warned of criminal implications if any of the data posted by the hackers is transferred or published by them.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Microsoft’s investigation team confirmed that the attacks were linked to Iran, with the evidence pointing toward four Iranian government-backed groups.
How it all began
Albania has suffered two cyber-attacks this year. One on July 15 and the other on September 9. The attack exposed sensitive government communications and other data and impacted the police, government, and public systems. However, the systems were secured before the planned damage could have been implemented.
Following the cyber-attacks, Iran’s embassy staff were asked to leave Albania within 24 hours. This was the first such action taken against diplomatic ties. The relationship between Albania and Iran worsened after thousands of Iranian dissidents were offered asylum in Tirana.
To prevent future attacks, the Albanian government plans to set a state-of-the-art cyber defense in collaboration with its allies like the United States of America, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that it is a part of, and the European Union.