Estonia Survives Internet`s First Cyberwar - Political Fallout
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The Russian government denies involvement in the attack. Worse, they have offered Estonia no help in tracking down those who might be involved. Estonia defense minister Jaak Aaviksoo notes that ďa server in our presidentís office got a query from an IP address in the Russian administration,Ē but admits that he cannot prove any direct links to the Russian government.
In truth, it probably wasnít the Russian government Ė though there are rumors circulating that both Russia and China are studying potential cyber warfare techniques. Even the US is believed to have begun a cyber warfare program. But itís more than likely that this attack wasnít connected to any one government. Rather, it was simply a large, loosely organized group of Russian sympathizers with access to the technology. In a sense, thatís even scarier, especially since itís unlikely that those involved will ever be caught.
There are other ramifications to this attack. Estonia is a member of both NATO and the European Union. If what it experienced qualifies as an assault under the terms of the NATO treaty, it would have had the right to invoke NATO Article 5, which states that an assault on one allied country obligates the alliance to attack the aggressor. Additionally, with Estonia declaring Internet access a basic human right, one could argue (as Reason Online did recently) that the United Nations Human Rights Council and Amnesty International should be expected to weigh in.
The attacks came from a wide range of countries. Zombie PCs were traced to the US, Russia, China, Peru, Canada and Vietnam, among other locations. While Estonia was able to hold off the attackers for a while by basically adopting a siege mentality (cutting off access to Estonia for the rest of the world), this approach wonít work if attackers hit a wider range of targets. Try to picture every NATO country cutting itself off from the world. The image becomes even more unlikely when you remember that governments do not control the Internet; power, such as it is, is wielded by a small group of techies who can be trusted when they say that certain IP addresses must be blocked.
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