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Estonia Court Proves Ethnic Russian Guilty of Hacking

A man of Russian ethnicity has been identified as the first individual and convicted for participating in cyber attacks against Estonia in 2007.

The attacks followed Estonia's relocation of a Soviet memorial to dead Russian soldiers. The Russians raised objections and as a result, a series of attacks were waged on Estonia websites. According to Estonia, the attack trigerred from 'cyber warriors' supported by Russia.

Spokesman Gerrit Maesalu for the office of regional prosecutor in north-east Estonia, told AFP that Dmitri Galushkevich has become the first cyber criminal (hacker) who is sentenced for orchestrating the intense cyber assault on an Estonian website. AFP published this on January 24, 2008.

20-year-old Galushkevich was ordered to pay fine of 17,500 Kroons (1,120 Euros) for organizing an attack during April 25-May 4 that resulted in the blocking of the website of the Reform Party under the leadership of the Prime Minister Andrus Ansip.

The legal accusation claimed that Galushkevich launched a DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack against the government servers and those of the Reform Party leading the government in retaliation to the decision of relocating the Soviet-era World War II monument. A massive surge of DDoS attacks crippled the websites of the government, rendering them inaccessible.

In a DDoS attack, commands are sent to other computers to overwhelm a website with data requests, making the site unable to work. This attack is usually launched from hackers' botnets - groups of compromised computers that have been infected with malicious code.

Maesalu said about the convict that the young man accepted he committed the crime and that during the jury's decision, the court considered the known truth that Galushkevich was never involved in any previous crime.

Prosecutors said that student Galushkevich claimed his attack was a gesture of protest.

While many investigations are ongoing, Estonia has found it hard to track down rest of the hackers involved, forcing the nation to take down the government sites and resulting in disruption of businesses.

Meanwhile, Moscow has refuted to have any role in the online attack, and investigators in Estonia have blamed Russia for not cooperating with their investigation.

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