Estonia to bolster cyber defenses after attacks

TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonia unveiled a plan on Thursday to boost its cyber security after an assault on its Internet infrastructure which it blamed on Russians angry at its removal of a Soviet-era statue.

Estonia suffered attacks on public and private Web sites in April and May year after the Red Army monument was moved from a Tallinn square. The removal of the monument led to two nights of riots by ethnic Russians.

“The action (to draw up a cyber defense strategy) is an intermediate step between what has already happened and a plan for the coming years,” said Economy and Transport Minister Juhan Parts in a statement.

The ministry said that, although the cyber attacks did not paralyze daily life, they raised questions as to what other key areas could come under attack and pose a security risk.

The new measures would aim to protect data and increase information security as well as make sure there were adequate legal weapons to fight cyber crime.

At an international level, Estonia said it would like other countries to sign up to a convention against cybercrime.

It said thousands of sites were affected by the cyber attacks by more than a million computers worldwide. It said the attacks were designed to cripple vital infrastructure in a country heavily dependent on the Internet.

Network specialists say at least some of the computers used could be traced to the Russian government or government agencies, but Russia has denied any involvement.

The attacks peaked on May 8 and 9 during commemorations in Russia and the Baltic states to mark the anniversary of the World War Two victory over the Nazis.