Albania’s prime minister publicly apologized after the personal details of hundreds of thousands of Albanian citizens were allegedly leaked online.
An Excel file containing what appears to be data related to public and private sector employees was found circulating on social media and has reportedly been widely shared via messaging apps.
The personal information allegedly exposed in the file includes the monthly salaries, job titles, employer names, and identification numbers of approximately 637,138 individuals.
BIRN reports that, although an investigation by the Tirana Public Prosecutor’s Office is ongoing to verify the authenticity of the data, suspicions have been raised that the information was leaked from the Albanian tax service or its Social Security Institute.
Speaking on Thursday, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama apologized for the security incident, which he said did not appear to be the result of malicious action by an external threat actor.
“According to a preliminary analysis, it looks more like an internal infiltration than an … external cyberattack,” Rama told a news conference.
He added: “I have the idea that this was done to create confusion and animosity between the people and (the government).”
Government spokesman Endri Fuga said an initial examination of the contents of the file suggested that the document had been formed by “merging several different pieces” of data. Fuga added that no digital export of the state payroll database had taken place.
President Ilir Meta described the publication of the list as “a flagrant violation of freedoms, human rights and dignity, the laws and the constitution” and called on the Albanian authorities to investigate the leak and find out who carried it out.
Meta said: “The personal data of each citizen, which are stored by public institutions and administered in state databases, are personal, are protected by law and are intended to be used only for the benefit of citizens and the state only .
“Any other use of it is a criminal act, which endangers the social order by violating the private security of every citizen.”
The alleged data breach follows a similar security incident in April in which the personal data of 910,000 voters in Tirana were exposed to the media.