Albania’s parliament said on Tuesday it had suffered a cyberattack with hackers trying to break into its data system, causing its services to be temporarily suspended.
The statement said Monday’s cyberattack “did not affect system data,” adding that experts were working to determine what the impact of the attack might be. It is reported that the system will be restored later.
Local media reported that a mobile phone service provider and an airline were also hit by cyber attacks on Monday, allegedly by Iranian hackers called Homeland Justice, which could not be independently verified.
In July 2022, Albania suffered a cyber attack that the government and multinational technology companies blamed on Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The attack is believed to be in retaliation for Albania harboring members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, two months after the government cut diplomatic ties with Iran.
Iran’s foreign ministry denied that Tehran was behind the attack on Albanian government websites and said that Iran had suffered a cyber attack by the MEK.
In June, Albanian authorities raided a camp for exiled MEK members to seize computer devices believed to be related to banned political activities.
Since 2013, around 2,500 Iranian exiles have been sheltered in Albania, where they must not participate in any political activity and must abide by the country’s laws. The United States, NATO and the European Union have backed NATO member Albania in the dispute.
In a statement sent to The Associated Press later Tuesday, MEK spokesman Ali Safavi said reports of cyber attacks in Albania were “not related to the presence or activities” of MEK members in the country.
Safavi also criticized claims that MEK members cannot engage in political activities while in Albania, saying they should be granted all rights, including freedom of expression and assembly.