Websites belonging to the Albanian government, including several offering vital services to citizens, have been disabled following what the government describes as a “synchronized and sophisticated cybercriminal attack” against its endpoints(opens in new tab), originating from outside the country.
The Albanian National Agency of Information Society confirmed the incidents, noting that,
“In order to withstand these unprecedented and dangerous strikes, we have been forced to shut down government systems until the enemy attacks are neutralized."
It did not go into detail about who was behind the attack, and where they might be located.
While many of the government’s websites have been forced offline, some remain operational, including the portal for filing taxes, as that one resides on a different server. At press time, some Albanian government websites are still unavailable.
Microsoft, Jones International Group (cybersecurity consulting service provider), and a number of local security companies have been recruited
“to prevent this cyber attack from damaging or compromising Albanian information systems”.
Internet outage tracker NetBlocks also confirmed the attack, saying the sites were first pulled offline Saturday evening.
“Metrics tend to support the Prime Minister’s Office statement that describes this as a defensive measure to protect AKSHI against a targeted threat, rather than a direct impact of the kind we might see in a distributed denial of service attack,”
said Alp Toker, NetBlocks Director.
“Several government services including Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and e-government gateway used by businesses and citizens are hosted on the government network and have been sent offline.”
The Albanian government recently shifted most of its administrative operations online, in order to simplify the process and make it less prone to corruption. With physical offices no longer available, people that need to use government services will simply have to wait.