Montenegro says FBI will help investigate cyber attacks

By Thomson Reuters Aug 31, 2022 | 9:45 AM

PODGORICA (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Bureau for Investigation (FBI) will send Cyber Action Teams (CAT) to Montenegro to help it investigate recent cyber attacks on government digital infrastructure, the interior ministry said on Wednesday.

The cyber attacks, described by officials as unprecedented and believed by the National Security Agency (ANB) to have been launched by Russian hackers, hit Montenegro government IT services last week.

Public Administration Minister Maras Dukaj has said that 150 work stations in 10 state institutions had been infected. The government had not received any request for ransom over compromised material.

NATO-member Montenegro’s top police officials met on Wednesday with the FBI’s legal attache for Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro and agreed that CAT experts should help in the investigation, the interior ministry said in a statement.

France and NATO have already pledged assistance, according to media reports.

Government officials have confirmed that ANB suspected that Russia was behind the attacks, saying they could be retaliation after Montenegro joined European Union sanctions against Russia and expelled several Russian diplomats.

Hackers also 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.

(Reporting by Stevo Vasiljevic, writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Nick Macfie)