Propastop’s Russian-language page became the target of denial-of-service attacks, during a wider attempt to disrupt Estonian state and private websites amidst the peaceful relocation of a Soviet monument in Narva.
However, the attempt did not disturb the blog’s activity, thanks to protection measures, and the attacks had no effect. Similarly, as explained by Estonia’s Chief Information Officer Luukas Ilves, the wider attack on Estonia failed and proved to be good resilience test of national cyber protection systems.
Propastop’s Russian-language blog has published several stories related to the Soviet tank monument in Narva and the war in Ukraine in the past few weeks.
The State Information System Authority (SISA) wrote in its review of the first quarter of this year that it is not only countries that have chosen sides in Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, but also several well-known criminal cyber groups and ideologically motivated hackers, or hacktivists. For example, the ransom group Conti and the hacker group Killnet have expressed support for the Kremlin. Although concrete reports are scarce, pro-Russian hacktivists are believed to be behind several attacks against Ukraine. At the same time, SISA mentions that the rules in force in the cyber field are vague and it is often difficult to trace who is to be held responsible for attacks.
DDoS attacks as hacktivism
This year there were several DDoS attacks against Estonian state institutions. According to SISA, 13 different websites of services related to the state or important for the state were attacked in April, service blocking attacks were carried out in May against the public websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and the Police and Border Guard Board, as well as the website of the State Information System Authority. In June, the attackers tried to disrupt, among other things, the website of the President, the transport and financial sector, and the eesti.ee portal of the State Information System Agency. In July, a jamming attack hit the President’s website, Tallinn Airport and the Government’s website. Thanks to the defensive measures, the attacks remained ineffective.