Estonia: Ground Zero for World's First Cyber War?

The Russian press is also reporting these attacks, but is often doing so in a somewhat sarcastic tone. Kommersant, a major nationwide newspaper, carries a headline, "Russia's Hackers Don't Lead Worldwide," in which it reports, "Residents of the U.S.A. are the most aggressive hackers in the world and in the second half of last year they launched one third of all attacks." According to Kommersant, China is second with 10 percent of all cyberattacks, followed by Germany with 7 percent. The paper also reports, "In Estonian economy IT plays the same role as gas and oil in the Russian economy."

Moskovskye Novosti, a local Moscow newspaper, points out that by 2008 NATO will have a fully operational cyber defense center and it will be located in Estonia.

One news Web site mockingly writes that a country proud of its achievements in IT, homeland of Skype and home country of many Microsoft engineers, cannot cope with some hackers and immediately calls on NATO for help.

Estonia has been a continual success story since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is a member of the European Union and NATO and its annual growth has been soaring. Most impressively, however, Estonia has managed to become one of the most computerized societies in Europe. Its administration has limited paperwork to the minimum and nearly all its citizens go about their daily business online.

The capital city of Tallinn is nearly completely Wi-Fi covered. Tallinn cafes are full of men and women sipping coffee and working their laptops. Many don't have a need for offices -- they can get online anywhere.

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