Uncle Sam sanctions Iran’s intel agency over Albanian cyberattack

The US Treasury Department has issued sactions against Iran’s intelligence agency in response to that country’s cyberattack against Albania and other “cyber-enabled activities against the United States and its allies.”

Earlier this week, NATO ally Albania cut its diplomatic relations with Iran after blaming a July cyberattack that hit its government infrastructure on Iranian state-sponsored attackers. At the time, the White House National Security Council pledged to “take further action to hold Iran accountable for actions that threaten the security of a US ally and set a troubling precedent for cyberspace.”

Today’s sanctions prohibit American businesses and individuals from conducting any transactions with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and its Minister of Intelligence, as well as any business more than 50 percent owned by the entities.

“Iran’s cyberattack against Albania disregards norms of responsible peacetime State behavior in cyberspace, which includes a norm on refraining from damaging critical infrastructure that provides services to the public,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson in a statement. “We will not tolerate Iran’s increasingly aggressive cyber activities targeting the United States or our allies and partners.”  

According to the Feds, since at least 2007, MOIS conducted cyberespionage, stole credentials and deployed ransomware, along with other malicious activities against government agencies, private-sector organizations and critical infrastructure sectors around the globe.

The US and Albania also allege that MOIS-linked cyber gangs were behind a leak of documents purported to be from the Albanian government and

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