Estonia thwarts cyberattack following removal of Soviet monument

Estonian officials said the country successfully thwarted a cyberattack on Wednesday that targeted both its public and private institutions.

Estonia’s undersecretary for digital transformation, Luukas Ilves, said on Twitter that the country was able to disrupt one of “the most extensive cyber attacks [they’ve] faced since 2007.” Ilves added that the attacks were mostly ineffective apart from some “brief and minor exceptions.”

The attack follows the removal of a Soviet war monument from an eastern Estonian city bordering Russia, according to news reports.

The Russian-backed hacking group Killnet claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reported. 

The group was also reportedly behind a cyberattack that hit Lithuania’s public and private sector websites in June. 

Killnet claimed the attack against Lithuania was in retaliation against the country’s decision to halt the shipment of some goods to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, a region situated between Poland and Lithuania. 

Estonia has become a leading cyber power since it fell victim to a series of destructive cyberattacks in 2007 that targeted key institutions including its foreign and defense ministries, banks and media outlets. Those attacks were in response to Estonia’s decision to remove a Soviet war monument from its capital city.

Last week, Finland’s parliament website was temporarily down following a cyberattack that coincided with President Biden’s move to admit the Nordic country to NATO.

The Finnish parliament said that the disruptions were a denial-of-service attack that hit the parliament’s external websites. 

Finland, along with Sweden, applied for NATO membership in May, a move prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. 

Russia, which sees NATO’s expansion as a direct threat, has vowed to take “retaliatory steps” if the two Nordic countries were to join the alliance, of which Estonia is also a member.

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