May 19, 2007

A CYBER-ASSAULT ON ESTONIA:

This small Baltic country, one of the most wired societies in Europe, has been subject in recent weeks to massive and coordinated cyber attacks on Web sites of the government, banks, telecommunications companies, Internet service providers and news organizations, according to Estonian and foreign officials here.

Computer security specialists here call it an unprecedented assault on the public and private electronic infrastructure of a state. They say it is originating in Russia, which is angry over Estonia’s recent relocation of a Soviet war memorial. Russian officials deny any government involvement. . . .

“These attacks were massive, well targeted and well organized,” Jaak Aaviksoo, Estonia’s minister of defense, said in an interview. They can’t be viewed, he said, “as the spontaneous response of public discontent worldwide with the actions of the Estonian authorities” concerning the memorial. “Rather, we have to speak of organized attacks on basic modern infrastructures.”

The Estonian government stops short of accusing the Russian government of orchestrating the assaults, but alleges that authorities in Moscow have shown no interest in helping to end them or investigating evidence that Russian state employees have taken part. One Estonian citizen has been arrested, and officials here say they also have identified Russians involved in the attacks.

“They won’t even pick up the phone,” Rein Lang, Estonia’s minister of justice, said in an interview.

If Russia doesn’t watch out, they’re going to find people quarantining them, electronically and otherwise.

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