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Iranian-backed attacks on Albania highlights need for Cyber Capacity Building

EXPERT PERSPECTIVE — Albania, a NATO member state, cut diplomatic ties with Iran earlier this month after blaming Tehran for a cyberattack against Albanian government networks. It is an unprecedented response to a cyberattack that highlights the impact of such attacks and how they could rapidly move NATO into a crisis or contingency.

Cyber deterrence relies on both maintaining offensive cyber capabilities and improving the resilience of cyber networks. This reality reinforces the importance of building the cyber defense capabilities of NATO allies.

Albania says July’s ransomware attack destroyed government data and temporarily disabled digital services. A group calling itself HomeLand Justice, claiming to be Albanian citizens, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group said in a telegram message that it was upset about the government’s decision to provide refuge to roughly 3,000 members of the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which the United States has designated as a terrorist group.