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Former President Ilves: Estonia's cyber security experience is trusted

  • 2017-03-17
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonia is one of the world leaders in cyber security and therefore its views are taken into consideration very seriously, former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in an interview with Eesti Paevaleht following hearings at the U.S. Congress.

"Estonia is taken very seriously. Our experience is currently necessary to both Europe and the United States," Ilves said. "Aggression in the information space transcends boundaries, attacks have occurred in Estonia, Germany, France as well as the United States, to name just a few countries. Estonia's experience is here invaluable."

This is a fight of all Europe and, more broadly, of the entire democratic world order, said Estonia's previous president who testified at hearings at both houses of the Congress.

"The history of cyber attacks starts with the 2007 attack on Estonia. Not that it was the first cyber attack ever, but it was the first known to have been committed deliberately for political reasons to influence the decisions made in Estonia," Ilves said.

"The tools used for cyber attacks have changed a lot since then, but Estonia's experience of resolving the situation at that time is still useful to countries that lack such experience. Another thing I worked on as president for ten years was to raise awareness of Estonia as an IT-savvy country. We thus know what we're talking about," Ilves added.

"The same goes for information attacks. Estonia has decades of experience of Russian influence activities which makes us less vulnerable than people in West Europe and the United States. At the same time we have experience to share of detecting and analyzing information attacks," he said.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee held on March 9 a hearing on Russian attempts to undermine democratic institutions at which also Ilves who currently works as a guest lecturer at Stanford University testified.

On March 15 Ilves spoke at the Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing about cyber threats against which democracies are more defenseless than non-democratic countries.