Attack on Estonia puts cyber security on EU agenda

HELSINKI (Reuters) - The European Union will address cyber security issues after attacks on the Internet sites of Estonia, EU Information Society commissioner Viviane Reding said on Saturday.

Estonia suffered cyber attacks on private and government Internet sites, peaking in May after a decision to move a Soviet-era statue from a square in Tallinn prompted outrage from some Russian nationals in Estonia and triggered a diplomatic row with Moscow.

“Estonia was a wakeup call,” Reding told a European Business Leaders Convention. “We have to wake up our governments ... If people do not understand the urgency now, they never will.”

The Commission has said it will launch a public consultation this year on having an EU-wide law on identity theft over the Internet.

Estonia said thousands of sites were affected and the attacks were aimed at crippling key infrastructure in a country heavily dependent on the Internet.

The attacks appeared to have stemmed initially from Russia although the Kremlin denied it was behind the action.

Network specialists say at least some of the computers used can be traced to Russian government or government agencies.

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.