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Hackers React Harshly to Estonia-Russia Diplomatic Standoff

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has deputed an expert in Estonia to help the nation combat attacks on its government websites. The Estonian defense minister suspects Russian government to be involved in it.

As an aftermath of the deteriorating relations between Estonia and Russia, hackers continued to launch cyber attacks on websites of ministries, banks and other companies for over two weeks.

The attacks commenced on April 27, 2007 following the shifting of a Soviet-era war memorial, a statue of a soldier in bronze from Tallinn. The countries connected the attacks to a diplomatic rift between them.

According to Estonian officials, they traced some hackers with Internet Protocol addresses of the Russian presidential administration and other Russian state agencies. The IP addresses identify the computer owners and enable communication among them electronically on a computer network. The Estonian defense ministry also noted that there were instructions on the Internet in Russian language about sending traffic to cripple the websites.

Although the government in Estonia is restraining from blaming the Russian government in devising the attacks, it alleges that Moscow officials have neither shown any interest towards ending the assaults nor have they been investigating signs of participation by Russian state employees.

There are evidences of the involvement of Russian state, said Silver Meikar, an MP in the Estonian coalition government and active participant in the nation's IT issues. Wilmingtonstar published Meikar's statement on May 19, 2007. He added that his statement was based on several rounds of conversation with different persons in the security agencies.

In an interview, Jack Aaviksoo, defense minister of Estonia said that the attacks were huge, targeted and organized. It wouldn't be right to interpret them as an impromptu response of discontent around the world towards actions by authorities in Estonia in connection with the memorial, Aaviksoo said. He thinks nations must consider these organized attacks targeting fundamental modern infrastructures.

Some foreign governments too have become aware of the attacks. NATO, the U.S. and the EU delegated IT experts. Robert Pszczel, a NATO spokesman said that since it was a well-arranged attack, Estonia is serious about it and so is NATO, Wilmingtonstar reported.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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