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26 June 2007, 12:06

US and Estonia join forces against cyber attacks

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The US and Estonia are joining forces to defend themselves against attacks on internet sites and computer systems in their countries. After a meeting with Estonian premier Toomas Hendrik Ilves, US President George W. Bush told the German dpa press agency that Ilves proposed that NATO set up a special office in his country. Bush comments that internet attacks are making all countries vulnerable, including the United States.

Recently, the US announced it would be setting up a "Cyber Command" centre to keep an eye on cyberspace and make sure that the US remains dominant. In addition, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged his colleagues at a meeting of NATO ministers in Brussels a week ago to come up with plans on how to react to attacks from cyberspace after servers in Estonia had been attacked. After a Russian war memorial was moved from the centre of the capital city Tallin, DDoS attacks were perpetrated on servers used by the Estonian government, banks, newspapers, and other companies. The Estonian government originally spoke of cyber terrorism and claimed that it could trace the attacks back to computers in the Kremlin, thereby charging that the Russian government was itself behind the attacks. However, it turned out that the attacks came from a global network of bots.

The dpa report indicated that after his meeting with President Bush, Ilves did not discuss who was behind the cyber attacks on his country. But he did point out the dangers that cyber warfare poses to modern information societies. For example, he pointed out that 97 per cent of all bank transfers in Estonia take place over the internet, making online banking a prime target. He argued that more attention should be paid to internet warfare now that the US, Israel, and Denmark have also come under attack via the internet.

Additionally, Ilves asked Bush to help make it easier for citizens of Estonia to obtain US entry visas. He pointed out that Estonia is a close ally of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, so Estonians find it difficult to understand why the best allies of the US have the hardest time going on vacation there. Bush promised to ask Congress to modernize stipulations for visas issued to Estonians.


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