Montenegro Falls Under Attack

Government infrastructure systems in Montenegro have been hit by a severe "unprecedented" cyber attack authorities said on Friday 25th August. The National Security Agency of Montenegro (ANB) stated that several Russian agencies were behind the unprecedented cyber attack against Montenegrin institutions.

“Co-ordinated Russian services are behind the cyber attack,” the ANB said in a statement. “This kind of attack was carried out for the first time in Montenegro and it has been prepared for a long period of time.”

"Certain services were switched off temporarily for security reasons but the security of accounts belonging to citizens and companies and their data have not been jeopardised," the Montenegrin Public Administration Minister Maras Dukaj said on Twitter.

The US embassy in Montenegro has warned its citizens in the Balkan state to be aware of a “persistent and ongoing cyberattack that is in process.” “The attack may include disruptions to the public utility, transportation, including border crossings and airport, and telecommunication sectors,” it said.

Relations between the Balkan country and Russia have been at a low point since it joined NATO in 2017. 

Montenegro's intelligence agency said it feared the attack had not yet reached its peak and that important systems, such as the electricity system or water supply, could be targeted next. Minister Dukaj said that the attack,  resembled several others in the past few years and that Montenegro has alerted its NATO allies.  Hackers previously attacked Montenegro's state digital infrastructure on election day in 2016, and then again over a span of several months in 2017 when the former Yugoslav republic was about to join NATO.

The national power utility EPCG has switched its operation to manual handling to prevent any possible damage after warnings by the ANB that it could become target of the attack, according to local sources.

Outgoing Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic called a session of the National Security Council for Friday evening to discuss the attack. Abazovic said it was both dangerous and politically motivated following the fall of his government last week. “Citizens’ personal data is completely safe for now and all direct attacks on the government and its institutions have been suppressed… The first attack happened a few hours after the government’s no-confidence vote last week. I warned it could lead to destabilisation,” Abazovic said.

Reuters:    Euronews:   Cyprus Mail:    Novinite:   Balkan InsightThe Advocate:   Vijesti:   US State Dept:   

Metro:     ABC

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