U.S. sanctions Iran intelligence over Albania cyberattack

Sep 9, 2022, 9:20 AM | Updated: 10:04 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government on Friday imposed sanctions on Iran’s intelligence agency and its leadership in response to malicious cyberattacks on Albanian government computer systems in July.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and Esmail Khatib, who heads the ministry, for what it said were cyber-related activities against the U.S. and its allies.

Albania, a NATO member, cut diplomatic ties with Iran and expelled its embassy staff this week over the cyberattack. It was the first known case of a country cutting diplomatic relations over a cyberattack.

The Albanian government has accused Iran of carrying out the July 15 attack, which temporarily shut down numerous Albanian government digital services and websites.

Microsoft, which assisted Albania in investigating the cyberattack, said in a blog post Thursday that it was moderately confident the hackers belong to a group that has been publicly linked to Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

It said the attackers were observed operating out of Iran, used tools previously used by known Iranian attackers and had previously targeted “other sectors and countries” consistent with Iranian interests. The destructive malware deployed was also previously used by a “known Iranian actor,” it said.

“Iran’s cyber attack against Albania disregards norms of responsible peacetime State behavior in cyberspace,” Brian Nelson, Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

“We will not tolerate Iran’s increasingly aggressive cyber activities targeting the United States or our allies and partners,” he said.

Since at least 2007, Iran’s intelligence agency and its proxies have been accused of conducting cyber operations targeting public and private entities around the world.

Treasury, which uses an Obama-era executive order that targets people and entities that engage in malicious cyber activities as an authority to impose the sanctions, has been ratcheting up its financial penalties on Iran this year.

This comes as President Joe Biden’s administration has been working to renew the tattered Iran nuclear deal, which placed curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which Iran insists it has never received.

__

Llazar Semini in Tirana contributed to this report. Bajak reports from Boston.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

South Carolina Rep. John McCravy, R-Greenwood, talks about a total ban on abortion he has proposed ...
Associated Press

Major abortion law changes unlikely in S. Carolina after Roe

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Whether conservative South Carolina changes its abortion laws at all in the wake of this year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision may be decided by divided conservatives Tuesday in the state House. South Carolina for decades was at the forefront of passing more restrictive abortion laws that challenged Roe v. Wade. before […]
22 hours ago
Adismarys Abreu, 16, poses for a photo at her home, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in Miami. Abreu had bee...
Associated Press

Teen interest in long-lasting birth control soars after Roe

Sixteen-year-old Adismarys Abreu had been discussing a long-lasting birth control implant with her mother for about a year as a potential solution to increasing menstrual pain. Then Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Abreu joined the throng of teens rushing to their doctors as states began to ban or severely limit abortion. “I’m definitely not […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, speaks during a rally outside the White House i...
Associated Press

Jury to be picked for Oath Keeper boss’ Jan. 6 sedition case

Jury selection is expected to get underway Tuesday in the trial of the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers extremist group and four associates charged with seditious conspiracy, one of the most serious cases to emerge from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Stewart Rhodes and the others are the first Jan. […]
22 hours ago
Workers remove a boat from the water in the bay of Havana, Cuba, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Hurricane ...
Associated Press

Hurricane Ian lashes Cuba, aims at Florida as possible Cat 4

HAVANA (AP) — A strengthening Hurricane Ian’s rain and winds lashed Cuba’s western tip, where authorities have evacuated 50,000 people, as it roared on a path that could see it hit Florida’s west coast as a Category 4 hurricane. Officials in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province set up 55 shelters, rushed in emergency personnel and […]
22 hours ago
Former Miss America Cara Mund poses in front of the North Dakota state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., S...
Associated Press

Cara Mund’s House pitch rides on abortion, outsider appeal

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — When Cara Mund was competing to become Miss North Dakota, a key part of her platform was increasing the number of women elected to political office. Later, after she became the state’s first Miss America winner, she traveled the country to encourage women to use their voice to make an impact. […]
22 hours ago
Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes meets with older voters at Elie's Café w...
Associated Press

Wisconsin’s Johnson embraces controversy in reelection bid

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Far from shying from his contrarian reputation, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Jonson is leaning into controversy as he runs for his third term. Johnson has called for the end of guaranteed money for Medicare and Social Security, two popular programs that American politicians usually steer clear from. He’s trafficked in conspiracy […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
U.S. sanctions Iran intelligence over Albania cyberattack