Eesti in brief - 2012-02-23

  • 2012-02-22

The Harju County Court in Tallinn has ruled that Estonia can extradite six people to the U.S. for cybercrimes. The final decision on the extradition will be made by the Estonian government. Vladimir Tshastshin, the leader of the group, was arrested in Estonia in November as part of the Ghost Click operation involving FBI and Estonian law enforcement agencies. He is believed to have earned millions of US dollars after computers infected with a virus he made directed users to the websites from which Tshastshin was earning advertising income. Following the arrest of six men from Estonia in November the FBI began installing its own servers to replace infected ones. But the rogue servers had, by the time of the arrests, already infected nearly half the Fortune 500 companies and at least 26 U.S. government agencies. Among the major sites affected Netflix, Amazon, and U.S. tax authority. The malware works by replacing the DNS (Domain Name System) servers defined on a victim’s computer with fraudulent servers operated by the criminals. As a result, visitors are unknowingly redirected to websites that distributed fraudulent software or displayed ads. The rogue DNS addresses have found their way into an estimated 40 million computers.

Russian diplomats have proposed re-opening negotiations for the Estonian-Russian border treaty, ERR reported. The ministry hasn’t gone ahead with the process because it was not sure whether redrafting the treaty could win parliamentary and public support, said Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. MP Yana Toom expressed concern that Estonia remains the only EU country bordering Russia that does not have a border treaty with that country. “The importance of the border treaty should not be exaggerated. The main thing is for the border to be accepted in practice,” said Paet. In 2005, Estonia and Russia came close to ratifying the border treaty. But the process came to a halt at the 11th hour when the Russian Duma withheld ratification after Parliament’s inclusion of a reference to the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty in the preamble to the treaty’s ratification law.