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Estonia Hit by Largest Cyberattack in its History

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Photo: Estonia Hit by Largest Cyberattack in its History. Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko
Photo: Estonia Hit by Largest Cyberattack in its History. Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko

Over the past weekend, the websites of many Estonian government institutions faced the largest wave of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in their history, but their impact was minimal thanks to measures taken. This was reported by the Postimees publication, citing the Estonian Information Systems Authority (RIA).

In a statement, Estonian cybersecurity experts noted that on Saturday and Sunday, attacks targeted several dozen websites in the public sector. The main targets were the Police and Border Guard Department, the Tax and Customs Board, and the Ministry of Justice, whose sites experienced the most intensive attacks on Saturday afternoon.

RIA mentioned that in recent years, the organization has implemented technical measures to counter such attacks, covering most major websites and services in the public sector. Assistance is also provided to the private sector, especially companies providing vital services, when needed.

"As a result, DDoS attacks usually have no visible impact on the operation of websites or their impact is minimal. This time, the incident response department CERT-EE RIA also reacted quickly and managed to mitigate the consequences of the attacks. On Saturday, almost three billion malicious requests were sent to overload Estonian websites, but the most actively attacked sites only experienced short-term disruptions or simply worked slower than usual," RIA stated.

According to RIA, large-scale DDoS attacks on Estonian government websites and services, as well as on private company sites, have been occurring since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine two years ago.

"Pro-Kremlin hacker groups mostly take responsibility for the attacks, as was the case last weekend," the RIA press service noted.

The attacks occur in waves and are often related to actions and statements in support of Ukraine. Such attacks are also carried out against many other countries. On one hand, these attacks are aimed at showing the Russian public that they are disrupting life in Western countries, which heavily rely on electronic solutions. On the other hand, they also seek to sow confusion and instability in Western societies.

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