Albania Denies Police System Was Attacked by Iranian Hackers

Albanian authorities Monday denied the country’s police system was hacked after local media reported that data on people being investigated for crimes was released from an Iranian hacking group.

Albanian media reported a leaked file with a list of suspected people, from allegedly the police database, who are being probed on different crimes.

Ervin Karamuco, a criminology professor, was quoted in social media as saying a channel called Homeland Justice had published 1.7 gigabytes of criminal data from the Memex police system.

State police denied its Memex system was damaged but urged local media not to publish data from hackers.

Interior Minister Bledi Cuci said that list had not come from the criminal police database. He said Microsoft and the FBI were helping Albanian authorities recuperate the affected systems.

Speaking at the Parliament, Prime Minister Edi Rama said the list aimed at creating social disturbances by issuing a “photo-edited list mixing criminals with politicians, with journalists.”

Last month Albania cut diplomatic ties with Iran over a July 15 cyberattack that temporarily shut down numerous Albanian government digital services and websites. Rama called the disruption an act of “state aggression.”

After Tirana severed ties with Tehran, a second cyberattack from the same Iranian source struck an information system that records Albanian border entries and exits, creating delays for travelers.

NATO, the United States and the European Union denounced the attack and supported Albania’s move to cut diplomatic ties with Tehran. The U.S. government-imposed sanctions on Iran’s intelligence agency and its leadership in response to the July cyberattack.

Albania, a NATO member, is being helped by the alliance, the U.S. and the EU to investigate and install better cyber defenses.

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