The president’s official website hit by a major cyberattack on Saturday | New

“The Presidential Office [website] was severely attacked a few days ago. Fortunately, no damage was caused. I’m talking about a cyberattack,” President Alar Karis told Vikerraadio’s “Välistund” program on Monday.

President Karis added that the competent Estonian authorities confirmed that the attack, on the site, was fifty times more intense than the one that had preceded it.

“The fact that no harm was done shows that we have learned a lot in recent years and are capable of defending ourselves against such heavy attacks,” the president noted.

Tõnu Tammer, head of the State Information System Authority (RIA) cyber incident response team, confirmed to ERR that the attack took place and added that it was resisted mainly thanks to the additional security measures put in place. implemented.

“Three weeks ago, the presidential website was undoubtedly the subject of jamming attacks. On Saturday evening July 2, beginning at 6 p.m. and continuing for many hours, approximately 40 million attempts been made to visit the website. Notwithstanding the fact that the Estonian President is well known and loved, this level of interest is neither normal nor natural,” Tammer said.

“These attacks have so far had no effect on the website because, thanks to government funding, we already added an extra layer of protection to websites of national importance in May. This allows us to make the distinguish between legitimate and malicious requests and to avoid a situation in which a website crashes due to an excessive amount of malicious traffic, i.e. attacks,” the RIA representative continued. .

Since Russia attacked Ukraine, the number of such attacks has doubled, according to Tammer. Since April, there have been more cyberattacks against Estonian websites and services, but so far there have been no substantial implications.

“To repeat, with the help of government funding, we have installed spam filters in front of websites and services. We are currently closely monitoring online activity in Estonia and partner states,” said Tammer said.

Tammer also told ERR on Friday that Estonia had been hit by a major wave of cyberattacks between the second half of April and the beginning of May. The May ones were conducted by the Russian hacking group KillNet. However, RIA has not yet determined who was responsible for last Saturday’s attack.

Tammer said hackers avoid doing business with Estonia because the country’s preparedness and defenses are strong, so the impact of the attacks has been minimal and they don’t pose a significant threat: “Yes , the website is down and users lose information, but no other damage has occurred.There is no risk of data leakage or someone deliberately altering data besides there is access.”

The RIA representative said similar attacks would continue for a very long time: “The Estonian people and government will still have to prepare for this for some time.”

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