I’m just back from a conference on cyber security held in Estonia, or, as the editors always force me to write: “the tiny Baltic nation of Estonia.” Other popular tropes: “in Estonia, more than 90 percent of all banking is done online, digital signatures are used widely by government officials and you can pay for parking with your cell phone. Geeks have dubbed the place E-stonia. Oh, and four Estonians built Skype.”
Right, we get it. Twenty years ago, the country shook free of the Soviets and made a strategic decision to invest, heavily, in information technology. The country’s President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, put it this way: “We are a small, unassuming European country that’s fairly advanced when it comes to Internet applications.”
You may also remember that the last time Estonia was in the headlines was back in 2007, when a series of denial of service attacks wrecked havoc with the the e-services that Estonians have come to depend on, and expect. The attacks began at the same time a real-world battle had developed over the fate of a statue of a Russian soldier in Tallinn. Online, banks, newspapers, and some government ministry websites were on the target list.