Stung by cyber warfare, Estonia, NATO allies to sign deal on cyber defense center

The Associated Press
Published: May 13, 2008

TALLINN, Estonia: Estonia and six NATO allies sign a deal this week to provide staff and funds for a new research center designed to boost the alliance’s defenses against cyber terrorism.

The agreement to be signed in Brussels on Wednesday comes a year after the small Baltic nation was exposed to an unprecedented wave of cyber attacks that crippled government and corporate computer networks.

The attacks lasted three weeks and followed deadly riots sparked by the relocation of a Soviet war memorial. Many Estonians suspect the Kremlin was behind the virtual strikes but Moscow has denied involvement.

The attacks showed how vulnerable individual countries are to cyber warfare and underscored the need for a joint NATO response, said Estonian Maj. Raul Rikk, who heads the center.

“The attacks against Estonia last year were cyber terrorism to say the least,” Rikk told The Associated Press in a tour of the facility in Tallinn. “The job of the center is to create new capabilities to fight against new threats.”