Estonia learned how to combat from cyber attacks

Estonia is a country of many legends. Apart from traditional training and apprenticeships it is already a good habit among Estonian ICT companies to exchange information and experiences in various fields. Developers come together to introduce their newest tricks, testers discuss how to find flaws in systems before end users are unpleasantly surprised, cyber defence guys have formed an unofficial alliance to stay alert and be a step ahead of cybercriminals.

Some statistics 

• 100% of Estonian schools and government organisations are connected to the Internet.
• 99% of banking transactions are conducted through the Internet
• 95% of income tax declarations were presented online via e-Tax Board in 2013
• 24,3% of votes were cast over the Internet on Parliamentary Elections in 2011
• 95% of prescriptions are issued electronically
• 79% of 16-74 population uses the Internet
• 98% of under 35’s are frequent Internet users
• 75% of households have Internet capabilities

In 2007, Estonia was the victim of a high profile campaign of state-sponsored online attacks. Now, years later, the country is promoting cybersecurity via a series of initiatives at home and abroad.

Three years after the 2007 attacks, Estonia founded the Cyber Defence League — a volunteer organisation that operates under the Estonian Ministry of Defence. The body assisted the state during the cyberattacks and its members are mostly IT security specialists from different sectors. The Estonian Police and Border Guard also have their own Cyber Crimes Unit, which investigates and prosecutes online criminal activity.

Around a year later, in 2011, the Estonian Information Systems Authority (EISA) was founded. The body helps both private- and public-sector organisations to maintain the security of their information systems, and it is constantly monitoring cybersecurity threats regarding Estonia.

Estonia has also focused on the availability of education on cybersecurity, and for some years, the Tallinn Institute of Technology has been offering a master’s degree programme in cybersecurity, providing opportunities for companies and organisations to gain highly educated workers.

The president of Estonia thinks that his small northern European country is paving the way for keeping people’s information protected online.

At a forum on international cybersecurity on Wednesday, Toomas Hendrik Ilves praised his country’s system of online digital signatures, which allow people to securely access a variety of financial, political and medical resources online.

“We have come to the solution that you cannot have any genuine security without a secure online identity,” he said at the George Washington University event.