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The First Cyber War Battle--Estonia.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on May 29, 2007

Sometimes an event happens at the far corner of your vision that has huge implications but you’re too busy to really focus on its importance. The recent cyber attack on key Estonian web sites fits that bill. The web sites of banks, the media, the Parliament and foreign and defense offices came under heavy “denial-of-service” attack by groups of computers around the world that swamped them with external requests..

Estonia is a country that lives on the net. Everything, from voting to banking is done on the web. So this was a very, very serious matter. The Estonian government points the finger at Moscow. Instructions on how to launch denial-of-service attacks were all over Russian-language web sites weeks before the attack. They started appearing just before a Soviet War Memorial was taken down, setting off ethnic Russian riots in Estonia.

But the hackers could simply have been individuals, either prompted by Moscow or acting on their own. In this age of stateless terrorism, it may be impossible to find out.

This isn’t the very first cyber attack of its kind. There was one between India and Pakistan and another from South Korea that hit US servers in 2002.

We all live our lives online today—and we are all vulnerable. We blithely put our most personal information online. And most of our transactions take place online.

Estonia brought in the very best to fight the hackers from hurting its economy and hitting its democracy and still it failed to stop them completely.

Digitalizing the world connects us more closely but also makes us more vulnerable. This is one event on the corner of our vision we should ponder seriously. Check out these comments by Jose Nazario, a security reseacher at Arbor Networks.



Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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