Around the end of last month, Estonia has removed the Bronze Soldier Soviet war memorial in central Tallinn. Ever since, Estonia and Russia have been in a pretty bad dispute. At the same time, Estonia has been subjected to…
(…) a barrage of cyber warfare, disabling the websites of government ministries, political parties, newspapers, banks, and companies.
Nato has dispatched some of its top cyber-terrorism experts to Tallinn to investigate and to help the Estonians beef up their electronic defences.
“This is an operational security issue, something we’re taking very seriously,” said an official at Nato headquarters in Brussels. “It goes to the heart of the alliance’s modus operandi.” (…)
If it were established that Russia is behind the attacks, it would be the first known case of one state targeting another by cyber-warfare.
(…) “At present, Nato does not define cyber-attacks as a clear military action. This means that the provisions of Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, or, in other words collective self-defence, will not automatically be extended to the attacked country,” said the Estonian defence minister, Jaak Aaviksoo.
“Not a single Nato defence minister would define a cyber-attack as a clear military action at present. However, this matter needs to be resolved in the near future.”
This is tough stuff. Not sure whether this is just a footnote in a small but very odd conflict. Or if it’s part of a major power struggle between Russia and the EU, where Putin tries to exploit the obvious loop hole in the NATO treaty. I hadn’t even noticed that cyber warfare hasn’t been covered by NATO defense. It seems logical, given how tough it should be to proof conclusively who’s really behind the attacks. After all, cyber warfare seems to be the predestined turf for non-state actors.
This should be interesting.
(Just wondering: When NATO sends in their security experts, do they actually move to Estonia physically, or just connect online?)