Montenegro says Russian cyberattacks Threaten Key State Functions
Members of the government in Montenegro are stating that the country is being hit with sophisticated and persistent cyberattacks that threaten the country’s essential infrastructure.
Targets include electricity and water supply systems, transportation services, online portals that citizens use to access various state services, and more.
Already, several power plants have switched to manual operations, while the state-managed IT infrastructure has been taken offline to contain the effect of the attacks.
At the time of writing, the official website of the government of Montenegro is unreachable.
Montenegro’s Minister of Public Administration, Marash Dukaj, posted on Twitter on August 26 to warn about a new wave of organized cyberattacks against various state bodies.
“Although certain services are currently temporarily disabled for security reasons, the security of the accounts of citizens and business entities and their data is not in any way endangered,” stated Dukaj (translated).
The country’s Defense Minister has attributed these attacks to Russian actors, telling local media on Saturday that there’s enough evidence to suspect the attack is “directed by several Russian services.”
In response to this situation, the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro has issued a security alert to warn American citizens in the country about the risks that arise from these cyberattacks.
“A persistent and ongoing cyber-attack is in process in Montenegro,” highlights the security alert.
The attack may include disruptions to the public utility, transportation (including border crossings and airport), and telecommunication sectors.
The embassy advises limited movement and travel, reviewing personal security plans, ensuring that all travel documents are valid, and monitoring local media for updates.
Russian attacks on Montenegro
The small Balkan country with a population of just over 620,000 people is undergoing a severe political crisis where people supporting the idea of joining the European Union and those for pro-Russian Serbs are clashing.
The polarization problem in the country was also fueled by the current government’s decision to support sanctions on Russia, causing an outcry from some demographic groups and now even attacks from outside.
At this time, Montenegro is enjoying the help of its NATO allies to thwart the attacks. France’s efforts are more notable, as the country has dispatched an ANSSI (French Agency for Information Systems Security) team to help defend critical systems and restore compromised networks.