Estonia was hit by widespread cyberattacks on Wednesday, Luukas Ilves, the country’s chief information officer and undersecretary for digital transformation, revealed on Thursday.
According to Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR), Russian-backed hacker group Killnet claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted both public and private institutions.
They arrived a day after the removal of a Soviet tank statue in the eastern border town of Narva, and a day before the suspension of Russian tourist visas on August 18.
“Attacks were ineffective… With a few brief minor exceptions, websites remained fully available throughout the day. The attack went largely unnoticed in Estonia,” Ilves posted on Facebook. “As the CIO of government, I slept well.”
According to the Incident Management Service of the Estonian Department of Information Services, 12 attacks were carried out against various state institutions or websites and four attacks against private sector organizations in the last 24 hours.
Nine of the attacks had no effect, while seven caused short service delays, state media reported.
Ilves says these are the largest attacks to hit the country since 2007, when Estonia became the first nation to be targeted by large-scale cyberattacks following the removal of a statue of a Soviet soldier. .
Estonia believes that the 2007 attacks were supported by the Russian state. The attacks lasted 22 days and targeted various government websites and local media.
On Wednesday, after weeks of deliberation and controversy, the Estonian government removed the statue of the Soviet T-34 tank from the eastern border town of Narva.
The tank monument was erected in 1970 to commemorate the Russian “liberation” of the city from the Nazis during World War II.