North Macedonia: Prosecutors investigate SEC software procurement after hacker attack | bne IntelliNews

North Macedonia’s Public Prosecution Office has launched a pre-investigation procedure over the procurement of software for election purposes by the state election commission (SEC) after its website was hacked following the July 15 vote, media reported on July 28. The election platform of the SEC was brought down by unknown hackers immediately after voting in the snap general election ended at 9pm on July 15. This prevented journalists and other interested people from monitoring the election results, which were announced with a huge delay a day after the election. Public prosecutors entered the SEC premises and seized the entire tender documentation to check the legality of the procurement of the software for the election results following media reports, 24mk reported. The president of the SEC Oliver Derkovski confirmed that prosecutors seized the documentation, but underlined that the procurement was legal.

North Macedonia: Russia denies interfering in North Macedonia’s July 15 general election | Valentina Dimitrievska/bne IntelliNews

Accusations of Russian interference in North Macedonia’s July 15 snap general election are “absurd”, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a news conference on July 23. Many anonymous audio recordings were revealed during the pre-election campaign, compromising politicians from both the ruling SDSM and the opposition VMRO-DPMNE. There were also a series of hacker attacks around election day, including against the State Election Commission (SEC) website. However, no official accusations have been levelled at Moscow in connection to the vote. Zakharova commented on the election in response to a journalist’s question, and accused Western politicians of hypocrisy and a “cynical use of double standards”. “It was not difficult to notice a series of video messages posted by senior Western politicians during the election campaign in North Macedonia that openly and persistently called on people to vote for one or another party. Against the background of this foreign interference, speculations about certain Russian influence are absolutely unfounded and completely absurd,” Zakharova said. The election resulted in a slim victory for the SDSM, which won only two more seats in the parliament than VMRO-DPMNE, making the formation of a new cabinet difficult.

North Macedonia: Hacker group warns parties against appointing ethnic Albanian PM | Valentina Dimitrievska/bne IntelliNews

The hacker group AnonOpsMKD, which claimed that it attacked news aggregator on North Macedonia’s election day, July 15, warned of “chaos” in the country if parties allow the appointment of an ethnic Albanian prime minister. The biggest ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), led by Ali Ahmeti, has effectively been made kingmaker by the election. It says it wants the next prime minister to be an ethnic Albanian and has proposed former politician Naser Ziberi as its candidate, should it enter into coalition with one of the two main parties.  The ruling Social Democrats (SDSM) won 46 seats in the 120-seat parliament, VMRO-DPMNE 44, the DUI 15, the Alliance for Albanians 12, Levica two and the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) one. This means that either the SDSM or VMRO-DPMNE would struggle to form a government without the DUI. “Now a threat to all parties — if you allow DUI to make you choose an Albanian as prime minister, in exchange for mandates — expect the entire Macedonia to be turned upside down, a complete blackout will happen within 24 hours, do not play with the Macedonian people!” the hacker group warned.

North Macedonia: Who hacked the website of North Macedonia’s state election commission on election day? | Valentina Dimitrievska/bne IntelliNews

The website of North Macedonia’s State Election Commission (SEC), or to be more exact the site’s election section, was targeted by hackers immediately after polls closed in the snap general election on July 15, leaving the question of who stands behind the attack? Even though the elections passed in a free and democratic manner and were among the most peaceful in the country so far, the denial-of-service (DDoS) attack left a big stain on the election — the first since the country changed its name to North Macedonia and become a Nato member. The election ended with a narrow lead for the ruling Social Democrats (SDSM) ahead of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE. Some VMRO-DPMNE supporters have already indicated they will not accept a new SDSM-led government. The SEC was hacked immediately after voting ended at 9pm on Wednesday. The election section then recovered for few minutes but the results disappeared again, preventing journalists and other interested people from monitoring the election results, which were announced with a huge delay a day after the election. At the same time as the SEC site was brought down, the local news aggregator was also hacked, but it recovered more quickly. “We are under DDoS attack,” owner of, Igor Trajkovski, said in a tweet at the time of the cyber attack. It was reported that was attacked with more than 20mn IP addresses on July 15.

North Macedonia: Election Commission ‘Cyber-Attacked During Polls’ | Bojan Stojkovski/Balkan Insight

The website of North Macedonia’s State Electoral Commission, SEC, suffered an alleged denial-of-service, DDoS, attack for more than three hours during the parliamentary elections on Wednesday. The attack delayed the SEC’s announcement of the official results of the tightly-contested vote on its website and it had to improvise by releasing partial results through YouTube clips instead. SEC officials insisted that the alleged attack did not affect the data that they had been collecting throughout the day. “From what I know so far, this was an attempted external attack. But until this is confirmed, I cannot speculate, we will know more about it tomorrow [Thursday]. The data wasn’t attacked and no damage was caused in the process,” SEC President Oliver Derkovski told a press conference. At the same time as the SEC suffered the alleged attack, the country’s most popular news aggregator was also targeted by a heavy DDoS attack, which took the website down for a couple of hours. The site’s founder, Igor Trajkovski, said that Cloudflare, a US-based website security company, had to block millions of IP addresses involved in the attack.