- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Biden administration has condemned Iran over a cyberattack against Albania that disrupted government services and destroyed national data.

Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said the United States had concluded Iran was responsible for the July 15 attack that shut down several Albanian digital services and websites.

Iran‘s conduct disregards norms of responsible peacetime State behavior in cyberspace, which includes a norm on refraining from damaging infrastructure that provides services to the public,” Ms. Watson said.

She emphasized that the U.S. will continue to support NATO ally Albania‘s efforts to remediate the attack, encouraging other allies to follow suit.

In the wake of the cyberattack, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced Wednesday the country is ending diplomatic ties with Iran, ordering Iranian diplomats and embassy staff to leave within 24 hours.

“This extreme response … is fully proportionate to the gravity and risk of the cyberattack that threatened to paralyse public services, erase digital systems and hack into state records, steal government intranet electronic communication and stir chaos and insecurity in the country,” Mr. Rama said.

Albania has had escalated tensions with Iran since 2014, when it accepted thousands of members of an exiled Iranian opposition group to settle in a camp near the country’s main port.

Albania has foiled several other planned attacks by Iranian agents against the dissident group called People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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