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Nato aids Estonia in denial of service fight

Earlier in May, many of the country’s government departments, political parties, media organizations and companies found their web-sites attacked using distributed denial of service attacks. The country is a leader in using the internet to provide government services.

The flood of requests came from around the world, although some Estonian organizations said that early requests came mainly from Russia, which has seen protests against the war memorial’s move to a less prominent position.
“Governments now have to factor in this new method of inter-country warfare via the internet,” says Greg Day, a security analyst from US anti-malware firm McAfee, but added that finding the origin of such attacks is complex and time-consuming.

David Emm, a senior technology consultant for Russian rival Kaspersky Lab, added that Russia is normally the third-largest source of such attacks, produced by botnets, groups of malware-infected computers. However, he said a political attack of this nature was unusual. “The trend is now towards making money out of this stuff,” he says. “It’s reminiscent of attacks 10 years ago – cyber-graffiti, not money-making.”

During the attack, Estonia was aided by Nato, of which it is a relatively recent member. A Nato spokesperson says its support included staff from the organization’s round-the-clock information security operation being sent to Estonia, and the attacks being discussed in a telephone conversation between Estonia’s president and Nato’s secretary-general. “This has been pretty furious, it’s been quite unusual in the scale of the attacks,” he said.

Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of Kaspersky Lab, said at the Infosecurity Europe show in April before the attacks that the Russian government’s increasingly aggressive stance was a factor affecting his business. “To me as a Russian company, it’s a challenge to enter Europe, the United States and Asian markets, with our products and our technologies,” he said, but added that the quality and size of the country’s university system made Russia a good place to develop software. “Russia and India are almost similar in number of students educated in technical universities, but the size of India is eight times the size of Russia in population,” he said.

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