There have been many articles written in the past few years regarding cyberwarfare/terrorism; attacks on government websites using web-bots (takes over the computer without the user’s knowledge), viruses, trojans and worms of various lethality. Not only government computers are vulnerable, banking institutions and other corporations are fair game. As I’ve said before, ingenious hackers will always stay one step ahead of totalitarian regimes and ruthless global concerns.
But the following is the first example I’ve seen of one sovereign government attacking another using cybertechnology:
Estonia’s computer systems are being bombarded by a three-week wave of cyber-attacks, the first assault of its kind on a nation state.
Computer hackers have disabled the websites of government ministries, political parties, newspapers and banks, causing chaos in the small Baltic state.
Nato has now dispatched its top cyber-terrorism experts to investigate and help the Estonians strengthen their electronic defences.
“This is an operational security issue, something we’re taking very seriously,” said an official at Nato headquarters.
It comes as Estonia and Russia are embroiled in their worst dispute since the collapse of the Soviet Union, prompted by the Estonians’ removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet war memorial in central Tallinn last month.
Alarm over the scale of the cyber-warfare is to be raised tomorrow at a summit between Russian and European leaders on the Volga.
EU and Nato officials will be careful not to point the finger at Russia directly, although if it could be proved it would be the first known case of one state targeting another by cyber-warfare.
One must also remember that nuclear arsenals are controlled by computer networks and must be hardened against cyber-attacks by hackers, terrorists and other governments. Nervous yet?