Two years on, Estonia hardens its electronic defenses

The country is focusing on education as well as identifying its critical information infrastructure

Although the electronic attacks against Estonia are two years in the past, the small Baltic nation is still hardening its defenses.

Last fall, the Estonian Ministry of Defense published a 36-page strategy that describes the cyber threat landscape as well as legal and educational principles that will guide the nation.

"There's going to be a bigger push in terms of better identifying and better defending the critical information infrastructure of Estonia," said Rain Ottis, a scientist with the Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, which was established last year in Tallinn. "We are better defended than we were."

Even though Estonia is considered one of the most wired nations in Europe as well as being the birthplace of the popular Internet telephony application Skype, it was caught flatfooted in April and May 2007.

Denial-of-service attacks knocked down the Web sites of banks, government agencies and media sites as well as nearly any other Web site ending in ".ee," or the country-code top level domain for Estonia, Ottis said.

Estonia responded in part by shutting down Internet traffic coming from outside the country, Ottis said. As the attacks continued, Estonia was aided by the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, which helped coordinate efforts to choke off hacked computers in the U.S. that were directing malicious traffic to Estonia, he said.

The impetus for the attacks appeared to be people who objected to the removal of a statue commemorating the Russian effort in World War II from a public square.

It was believed pro-Russian activists were responsible; the Russian government officially denied any connection.

Since the attacks, Estonia has also concentrated on educational efforts on cybersecurity, Ottis said. The Tallinn Institute of Technology is now offering a master's degree program in cybersecurity. Other ongoing efforts include media outreach.

Still, as time goes by, newer, more current problems have taken away some of the urgency around bolstering cybersecurity.

"Let's be honest -- the biggest problem for the government of Estonia and for most governments in the world today is not the cyber threat, it's the economy," Ottis said. "Currently cyber is not the prime topic it was two years ago."

But the attacks of 2007 did show leaders the impact of cyberwarfare.

"Hopefully nothing will happen again, but if it were, the decision makers should be able to move faster," Ottis said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags estonia

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?