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Minister: Friday’s cyber-attack on private media part of consistent pattern | News

State sites and services are more highly protected from hackers than the private sector, he added, though state support is also offered to the latter in shoring up their cyber-hygiene.

Järvan said: “We undoubtedly saw a rise [in attacks] from the moment the government decided to start working more actively with regard to ‘red’ monuments. In the bigger picture, this is still a part of the larger entire war prosecuted by Russia against the West.”

Järvan also stressed that while private media companies were affected, with sites down for several hours Friday morning, public broadcaster ERR was not.

“ERR is protected by national measures, precisely by those measures for which it has received extra money on an emergency basis. This has fully proven itself in the situation where attacks have risen,” Järvan went on.

“My message, plus what we have also done via concrete steps from the State Information System Agency (RIA), is that we also offer support to the private sector to deal with their cyber-security; we can share best practices. RIA has done a very good job to help private sector media as well,” the minister went on.

The previous Reform/Center administration, in office on February 24, provided a €30-million cyber-security package for state and public agencies and sites, and a comparable amount for coverage of Ukraine and the conflict there.

The ensuing firewall tech has proven itself in heading off the kind of Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS) attack which private media sites such as Eesti Päevaleht and Delfi (owned by the Ekspress Group) and Postimees (owned by the group of the same name), as well as evening paper Õhtuleht, and in which thousands of requests are made to the same page per second, causing site overload, Järvan added.

Critical national services are also well-defended, thanks to the RIA CERT-EE team, the dedicated state cyber-security outfit, the minister added.

While one state body, rail operator Eesti Raudtee, also experienced some negative impact from cyber-attack last Friday, hinting that more work needs to be done still, essential online services remained intact.

The Wednesday-before-last, August 17, also saw an extensive DDoS cyber-attack launched by hackers of Russian origin on Estonia’s e-state and systems, which was successfully repelled. The attack followed the removal of a controversial Soviet-era tank monument from the eastern city of Narva, and its relocation to a museum near Tallinn.

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