The U.S. has blamed Iran as the perpetrator of the cyberattack against Albania in July following a weeks-long investigation, Reuters reports.
"The United States will take further action to hold Iran accountable for actions that threaten the security of a U.S. ally and set a troubling precedent for cyberspace," said the White House National Security Council in a statement.
The findings have prompted Albania to end diplomatic relations with Iran, with Iranian diplomats and embassy staff ordered to depart within 24 hours.
"This extreme response ... is fully proportionate to the gravity and risk of the cyberattack that threatened to paralyse public services, erase digital systems and hack into state records, steal government intranet electronic communication and stir chaos and insecurity in the country," said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. Albania's move against Iran has been regarded by Mandiant Vice President of Intelligence John Hultquist to be the "strongest public response to a cyberattack."
"While we have seen a host of other diplomatic consequences in the past, they have not been as severe or broad as this action," Hultquist added.
Officials, journalists, and activists across Armenia were reported by Access Now, Citizen Lab, Amnesty International, CyberHUB-AM, and independent researcher Ruben Muradyan to have been targeted in at least 12 instances with the NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, Reuters reports.
Intellexa's commercial Predator spyware, which has been used in surveillance operations targeted at European politicians, Meta executives, and journalists, has been deploying its Alien loader to the 'zygote64' Android process to enable more spyware components, according to BleepingComputer.