Estonia subject to bigger wave of cyberattacks over past week

Cyber exercise.
Cyber exercise. Source: Rene Suurkaev/ERR

While Estonia typically sees less than ten reports of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks a day, it has recently been the target of a bigger wave of cyberattacks, with the number of DDoS attack reports to the Information System Authority (RIA) reaching as high as 114 over the past 24 hours.

Speaking to ERR, Tõnu Tammer, director of CERT-EE, the RIA department responsible for the management of security incidents in the .ee domain, said that Estonian websites and services have been subject to a bigger wave of cyberattacks over the past week.

"28 incidents were recorded on Thursday-Friday, for example, and according to preliminary information, as many as 114 over the past 24 hours," Tammer said.

These were just the cases that either CERT-EE had automatically been notified of or whose victims had reported to the authority, he highlighted, adding, "Presumably there are actually more attacks than that."

Typically, the RIA only sees reports of less than ten DDoS attacks a day.

According to the department director, chief targets over the past week have included transport, retail, information and communication as well as media companies. As a result of the attacks, he explained, some websites were running more slowly, and a few isolated services were likewise inaccessible for a time.

For example, online news portal Delfi was subject to a cyberattack last Wednesday that made it impossible to access its articles.

The attacks nonetheless didn't lead to any major consequences, however, and the attacks were repelled by the implementation of additional safeguards, Tammer added.

Pro-Moscow hackers claiming latest attacks

"A pro-Moscow hacker group has taken credit on social media for at least part of last week's attacks, and we can assume that they're related to the war in Ukraine," Tammer said.

A bigger wave of DDoS attacks targeting Estonia began last April and, according to the CERT-EE chief, continued through November. He noted that compared with 2021, the number of DDoS attacks they saw last year had quadrupled.

"In addition to the aforementioned sectors, public institutions and banks have been under attack as well," Tammer said. "Bigger waves of attacks followed the relocation of the Narva tank monument and the Riigikogu's decision to declare Russia a terrorist regime. Things calmed down a bit at the end of last year, and until now, this summer was likewise relatively quiet in terms of DDoS attacks."

Over the past 24 hours, the CERT-EE team also received reports about seven phishing pages aimed at collecting people's email and bank account information.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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