From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]
Stanek: “I understand the first book on economics you read was Milton
Friedman’s Free to Choose. How did someone who grew up under Communism
come across a book by Milton Friedman?”
Laar: “First of all, when you grow up in Communism, you know books on
are not really on economics. They are Communist political propaganda.
It is very hard to believe in Karl Marx when you see what is happening
around you. Ronald Reagan once said, “What is the difference between a
Marxist and an anti-Marxist? A Marxist reads the books of Karl Marx.
An anti-Marxist understands them.”
The first time I heard the name Milton Friedman, it was in propaganda
newsletters that said there is one very bad and very dangerous
economist, and his name is Milton Friedman. I was quite sure, when he
is so dangerous for the Communists to be telling me this, he must be a
Free to Choose was one of the first Western books translated into
Estonian at the end of the 1980s. That is how I had the chance to look
at these ideas, which, when they were introduced in Estonia, looked
quite crazy to many Western people but which to me looked quite
logical, I must say.”
Mart Laar was barely 32 years old in 1992, when he became prime
minister of Estonia, a small nation on the Baltic Sea that had just
emerged from decades of Communist oppression as a satellite state of
the Soviet Union.
He inherited leadership of a country with 1,000 percent inflation, 30
percent unemployment, and government-owned businesses that were a
shambles. Laar’s government removed price controls, cut regulations
and welfare programs, sold state-owned businesses, introduced a new
currency, and instituted a simple, flat-rate income tax that is being
emulated in countries across Central and Eastern Europe. The rate has
been lowered several times over the years and is now at 20 percent.
The result? Inflation in Estonia has dropped below 3 percent,
unemployment has plunged below 6 percent, and foreign investment has
poured in. Estonia has enjoyed the greatest growth in real per-capita
income of any of the former Soviet states.
AND ALSO THIS
“The head of IT security at Estonia’s defence ministry, Mikhail
Tammet, told BBC News that the attacks had affected a range of
government websites, including those of the parliament and
He said the country was particularly vulnerable as much of its
government was run online.
“Estonia depends largely on the internet. We have e-government,
government is so-called paperless… all the bank services are on the
internet. We even elect our parliament via the internet,” Mr Tammet
BOTNETS ARE TO FLYING MONKEYS AS
Russia accused of unleashing cyberwar to disable Estonia
Ian Traynor in Brussels / Thursday May 17, 2007
A three-week wave of massive cyber-attacks on the small Baltic country
of Estonia, the first known incidence of such an assault on a state,
is causing alarm across the western alliance, with Nato urgently
examining the offensive and its implications.
While Russia and Estonia are embroiled in their worst dispute since
the collapse of the Soviet Union, a row that erupted at the end of
last month over the Estonians’ removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet
war memorial in central Tallinn, the country has been subjected to a
barrage of cyber warfare, disabling the websites of government
ministries, political parties, newspapers, banks, and companies.
Nato has dispatched some of its top cyber-terrorism experts to Tallinn
to investigate and to help the Estonians beef up their electronic
“This is an operational security issue, something we’re taking very
seriously,” said an official at Nato headquarters in Brussels. “It
goes to the heart of the alliance’s modus operandi.”
Alarm over the unprecedented scale of cyber-warfare is to be raised
tomorrow at a summit between Russian and European leaders outside
Samara on the Volga.
While planning to raise the issue with the Russian authorities, EU and
Nato officials have been careful not to accuse the Russians directly.
If it were established that Russia is behind the attacks, it would be
the first known case of one state targeting another by cyber-warfare.
Relations between the Kremlin and the west are at their worst for
years, with Russia engaged in bitter disputes not only with Estonia,
but with Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and Georgia – all
former parts of the Soviet Union or ex-members of the Warsaw Pact. The
electronic offensive is making matters much worse.
“Frankly it is clear that what happened in Estonia in the cyber-
attacks is not acceptable and a very serious disturbance,” said a
senior EU official.
Estonia’s president, foreign minister, and defence minister have all
raised the emergency with their counterparts in Europe and with Nato.
“At present, Nato does not define cyber-attacks as a clear military
action. This means that the provisions of Article V of the North
Atlantic Treaty, or, in other words collective self-defence, will not
automatically be extended to the attacked country,” said the Estonian
defence minister, Jaak Aaviksoo.
“Not a single Nato defence minister would define a cyber-attack as a
clear military action at present. However, this matter needs to be
resolved in the near future.”
Estonia, a country of 1.4 million people, including a large ethnic
Russian minority, is one of the most wired societies in Europe and a
pioneer in the development of “e-government”. Being highly dependent
on computers, it is also highly vulnerable to cyber-attack.
The main targets have been the websites of:
· the Estonian presidency and its parliament
· almost all of the country’s government ministries
· political parties
· three of the country’s six big news organisations
· two of the biggest banks; and firms specializing in communications
It is not clear how great the damage has been.
With their reputation for electronic prowess, the Estonians have been
quick to marshal their defences, mainly by closing down the sites
under attack to foreign internet addresses, in order to try to keep
them accessible to domestic users.
The cyber-attacks were clearly prompted by the Estonians’ relocation
of the Soviet second world war memorial on April 27.
Ethnic Russians staged protests against the removal, during which
1,300 people were arrested, 100 people were injured, and one person
The crisis unleashed a wave of so-called DDoS, or Distributed Denial
of Service, attacks, where websites are suddenly swamped by tens of
thousands of visits, jamming and disabling them by overcrowding the
bandwidths for the servers running the sites. The attacks have been
pouring in from all over the world, but Estonian officials and
computer security experts say that, particularly in the early phase,
some attackers were identified by their internet addresses – many of
which were Russian, and some of which were from Russian state
“The cyber-attacks are from Russia. There is no question. It’s
political,” said Merit Kopli, editor of Postimees, one of the two main
newspapers in Estonia, whose website has been targeted and has been
inaccessible to international visitors for a week. It was still
unavailable last night.
“If you are implying [the attacks] came from Russia or the Russian
government, it’s a serious allegation that has to be substantiated.
Cyber-space is everywhere,” Russia’s ambassador in Brussels, Vladimir
Chizhov, said in reply to a question from the Guardian. He added: “I
don’t support such behaviour, but one has to look at where they [the
attacks] came from and why.”
Without naming Russia, the Nato official said: “I won’t point fingers.
But these were not things done by a few individuals.
“This clearly bore the hallmarks of something concerted. The Estonians
are not alone with this problem. It really is a serious issue for the
alliance as a whole.”
Mr Chizhov went on to accuse the EU of hypocrisy in its support for
Estonia, an EU and Nato member. “There is a smell of double
He also accused Poland of holding the EU hostage in its dealings with
Russia, and further accused Estonia and other east European countries
previously in Russia’s orbit of being in thrall to “phantom pains of
the past, historic grievances against the Soviet union and the Russian
empire of the 19th century.” In Tallinn, Ms Kopli said: “This is the
first time this has happened, and it is very important that we’ve had
this type of attack. We’ve been able to learn from it.”
“We have been lucky to survive this,” said Mikko Maddis, Estonia’s
defence ministry spokesman. “People started to fight a cyber-war
against it right away. Ways were found to eliminate the attacker.”
The attacks have come in three waves: from April 27, when the Bronze
Soldier riots erupted, peaking around May 3; then on May 8 and 9 – a
couple of the most celebrated dates in the Russian calendar, when the
country marks Victory Day over Nazi Germany, and when President
Vladimir Putin delivered another hostile speech attacking Estonia and
indirectly likening the Bush administration to the Hitler regime; and
again this week.
Estonian officials say that one of the masterminds of the cyber-
campaign, identified from his online name, is connected to the Russian
security service. A 19-year-old was arrested in Tallinn at the weekend
for his alleged involvement.
Expert opinion is divided on whether the identity of the cyber-
warriors can be ascertained properly.
Experts from Nato member states and from the alliance’s NCSA unit –
“Nato’s first line of defence against cyber-terrorism”, set up five
years ago – were meeting in Seattle in the US when the crisis erupted.
A couple of them were rushed to Tallinn.
Another Nato official familiar with the experts’ work said it was easy
for them, with other organisations and internet providers, to track,
trace, and identify the attackers.
But Mikko Hyppoenen, a Finnish expert, told the Helsingin Sanomat
newspaper that it would be difficult to prove the Russian state’s
responsibility, and that the Kremlin could inflict much more serious
cyber-damage if it chose to.
“As a motivational tool, Future Force Company Commander is very
1. engages the emotions — is very entertaining
2. allows role-playing & one can develop sense of self-efficacy
3. gives a sense of mastery of the technology and mastery (even though
the mastery is an illusion) over one’s environment”
Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2007
Estonian DDoS Attacks – A summary to date
by Jose Nazario
Time sure flies. I looked up from working and noticed I hadn’t blogged
in a while. And I noticed that I hadn’t been analyzing the Estonian
DDoS attacks in a week or two.
ATLAS gives us an amazing view into the Internet’s activities. ATLAS
collects DoS attack data from around the world through sharing
arrangements and even from some of our Peakflow SP deployments. As
such, the recent DDoS attacks on Estonia are visible, in part, from
within ATLAS. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Estonia.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, it’s become technically advanced,
society has done wonders to improve itself and it’s jumped, quite
successfully, into the modern world. It has a nearly model economy,
based in large part on the teachings of Milton Friedman who favored
free markets unfettered by state control.
As you can imagine, having development access to the ATLAS data
repository allows me to build new reports and crunch the data in new
and exciting ways. I analyzed about 2 weeks of DDoS attacks on Estonia
this morning using internal tools and reporting systems, and here’s
what I found.
We’ve seen 128 unique DDoS attacks on Estonian websites in the past
two weeks through ATLAS. Of these, 115 were ICMP floods, 4 were TCP
SYN floods, and 9 were generic traffic floods. Attacks were not
distributed uniformly, with some sites seeing more attacks than
Attacks Destination Address or owner 35 “126.96.36.199/32″ pol.ee
7 “188.8.131.52/32″ www.riigikogu.ee
36 “184.108.40.206/32″ www.riik.ee, www.peaminister.ee, www.valitsus.ee
2 “220.127.116.11/32″ m53.envir.ee
2 “18.104.22.168/32″ www.sm.ee
6 “22.214.171.124/32″ www.agri.ee
35 “126.96.36.199/32″ www.fin.ee (Ministry of Finance)
The attacks themselves haven’t been steady, at least from the
perspective given by ATLAS. If we look at how many attacks occurred on
every day, we can see that they peaked a week or so ago, but they
haven’t necessarily stopped.
Attacks Date 21 2007-05-03
As for how long the attacks have lasted, quite a number of them last
under an hour. However, when you think about how many attacks have
occurred for some of the targets, this translates into a very long-
lived attack. The longest attacks themselves were over 10 and a half
hours long sustained, dealing a truly crushing blow to the endpoints.
Attacks Date 17 less than 1 minute
78 1 min – 1 hour
16 1 hour – 5 hours
8 5 hours to 9 hours
7 10 hours or more
Finally, this is a decent sized botnet behind the attack, with
aggregate bandwidth at our points of measurement maxing out at nearly
Attacks Bandwidth measured 42 Less than 10 Mbps
52 10 Mbps – 30 Mbps
22 30 Mbps – 70 Mbps
12 70 Mbps – 95 Mbps
Largest attacks we measured: 10 attacks measured at 90 Mbps, lasting
upwards of 10 hours. All in all, someone is very, very deliberate in
putting the hurt on Estonia, and this kind of thing is only going to
get more severe in the coming years.
Links around the net to more information about the attacks:
* Russia accused of unleashing cyberwar to disable Estonia, The
Guardian, May 17, 2007.
* Estonian and Russia: A cyber-riot, The Economist, May 10, 2007.
* Massive DDoS attacks target Estonia; Russia accused, Ars
Technica, May 14, 2007.
* 9th of May on the F-Secure Weblog. Additional news from them:
Update on the Estonian DDoS attacks on April 30, and Unrest in
Estonia, published on April 28, 2007.
Interesting to also see that TERENA has published details as to how
the European CSIRT community have responded to assist Estonia deal
with the attacks.
Russia: Monument Dispute With Estonia Gets Dirty
By Victor Yasmann / May 4, 2007
The dispute over the removal of a war memorial in Tallinn has become a
dirty war. Hacking, violent protests, intimidation of diplomats, all
with the hand — or at least the blessing — of the Kremlin.
Estonia has suggested that the Kremlin and its security services were
behind the two days of violent protests by local Russian youths in
Estonia. At a press conference in Moscow on May 2, Estonian Ambassador
to Russia Marina Kaljurand said that she believed that both protests
in Tallinn and Moscow were directed by the Kremlin.
Official Russian Disruptions
If it wasn’t behind the protests, the Kremlin certainly wasn’t a
calming factor. On April 30, a delegation from Russia’s State Duma,
the lower house of parliament, visited Tallinn to investigate the
events around the removal of the Bronze Soldier memorial.
The delegation was headed by Nikolai Kovalyov, the former director of
the Federal Security Service (FSB) and currently the head of the Duma
Veterans Affairs Committee. While in Tallinn, Kovalyov called for the
immediate resignation of the Estonian government. Many Estonians
protested the statement as an intervention in their internal affairs.
In the last few days, several Estonian government websites went down,
including the sites of the Estonian president, parliament, cabinet
ministers, and the Foreign and Defense ministries.
The website of Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who many consider
to be behind the removal of the Bronze Soldier, was also hacked.
Estonian Justice Minister Rejn Lang said on April 30 that the Internet-
protocol addresses show that the attack was carried out from Moscow
state institutions. “The aim of the attack was to paralyze the
republic’s information infrastructure. That proves that some forces in
Moscow have completely lost their prudence,” Lang said.
Youth Group Provocations
If the Russian state wasn’t responsible, it could have been Nashi, a
pro-Kremlin youth group.
Konstantin Goloskov, a Nashi activist, told the Rosbalt news agency on
May 2 that he personally took part in cyber-attacks on Estonian
websites. But he denied that Moscow state offices were used. The
hacking, he said, was done from the breakaway Moldovan region of
Estonian websites weren’t the only ones targeted. The Russian daily
“Kommersant” and the Ekho Moskvy radio station, which were critical of
the Kremlin for its handling of the situation, also had their websites
Nashi isn’t just operating in cyberspace. Since April 27, around 600
members of Nashi and a number of other pro-Kremlin youth groups
organized a protest outside the Estonian Embassy in Moscow.
On May 2, the group’s activists disrupted a press conference held by
Estonian Ambassador Kaljurand. They also attacked the car of a Swedish
diplomat in which they suspected Kaljurand was hiding.
These aren’t just the spontaneous actions of young, radicalized young
people. Nashi, along with other national-patriotic organizations,
enjoys almost open political and financial support from the Kremlin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, deputy presidential-administration
head Vladislav Surkov, and First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov
have already met several times with these organizations’ activists.
Politics By Other Means
Such seemingly state-sponsored actions have some precedents — albeit
In summer 2005, Polish citizens, including diplomats and journalists,
in Moscow were harassed by “unknown attackers.” The attacks followed
an attack in Warsaw on the family of a Russian diplomat, and Moscow
expressed its displeasure at the way the Polish investigation
proceeded. But when Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski called on
Putin to stop the attacks, the assaults on Poles in Moscow abruptly
Another case of directed physical and psychological pressure was when
Georgians were expelled from Russia in October 2006 after relations
deteriorated between Moscow and Tbilisi following a spy scandal.
Russian police raided Georgian businesses, and rounded up and deported
many Georgian citizens, who were working illegally in Russia.
There have been suggestions from many Russian politicians and
commentators that the Kremlin take matters further. The Federation
Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, on April 29 voted
to break diplomatic relations with Tallinn.
Other Russian politicians have proposed economic sanctions, a
transport blockade, a tourism boycott of Estonia, and banning those
Estonian officials responsible from the removal of the memorial from
Speaking on RTR on May 3, Sergei Lopatnikov, a visiting professor at
the University of Delaware, suggested adopting a law that would
prosecute “people revising the results of World War II, regardless of
their diplomatic status and territorial jurisdiction.” His comments
were carried by most state-controlled television and radio stations.
Moscow’s Weapons Limited
However, the Kremlin knows its limits. Breaking off ties with Estonia
is unlikely to be popular with the government and the public, as it
would have negative consequences for the ethnic Russian community in
Estonia, which makes up around one-third of the population.
Moreover, trade between the two countries is worth less than $300
million. Estonia, especially with European Union backing, could easily
find other partners in the case of economic sanctions.
It is also possible that the Kremlin will soften its campaign against
Estonia, fearing that further pressure would consolidate the West
In fact, already the United States, NATO, EU, the Scandinavian
countries, and the Baltic states have all backed Estonia. Only China,
Kazakhstan, and Belarus have expressed their official support for
And the “monument war” has already soured relations between Russia and
the EU. The European Union has called on Russia to guarantee the
safety of Estonian diplomats on its territory.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that the crisis with
Estonia will have a negative effect on Russia’s relations with NATO
and the EU because “they accepted Estonia as a member of their
organization, and, therefore, are responsible for its behavior.”
Away from the political drama, the real losers in this crisis are
likely be Estonia’s ethnic Russians, who have become further
ostracized in their own country.
Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar has said that all the good work done by
the Estonian government, with the help of the EU, for the Russian
ethnic minority has now been ruined.
Or as Vladimir Belozeartsev, a Tallinn University professor, told RFE/
RL’s Russian Service, “As Moscow and Tallinn settle accounts with each
other, the [ethnic] Russian Estonians have found themselves caught
between two fires.”
Statements on relations between Estonia and Russia
European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering said “The Schuman
Declaration of 9 May 1950 gave Europe the foundation on which
partnership could develop in peace and freedom between formerly
hostile nations. But 9 May is for others a controversial date, as we
have seen in the dispute over the Soviet military memorial in
Estonia’s capital Tallinn.”
President Pöttering pointed out that the European Parliament’s
resolution of 12 May 2005 stated that “for many nations the end of
World War II meant a new tyranny from the Soviet Union”.
President Pöttering referred to former MEP Toomas-Hendrik Ilves who is
now President of Estonia, who said in connection with the events
outside the Estonian embassy in Moscow: “It is unusual in Europe to
demand the resignation of the democratically elected government of a
neighbouring country. It is unthinkable in Europe to disregard the
Vienna Convention on the protection of diplomatic representations”.
President Pöttering concluded and said: “The European Union is based
on values. Protecting these values is our common task. Where a
country of the European Union is put under pressure, we must all stand
up to be counted. Estonia can rely on our solidarity”.
Estonian MEP Tunne KELAM spoke for the EPP-ED group. He said “what is
happening is not a bilateral issue” but “a test case for the EU as a
whole”. It was important to avoid “wishful thinking”: President
Putin, in his speech in Munich, had made clear that Russia was now
seeking to “regain influence over the Baltic states and then those of
the former Warsaw Pact”, using the energy boom and Russians outside
Russia as his tools. Mr Kelam, however, stressed that “99% of the
Russians in Estonia are loyal not to Putin but to the Estonian
state”. Sovereignty was the key point, he emphasised, including “the
right to decide and assess our past”. In conclusion, he said, “we
need your solidarity and I am very thankful to all of you for
Johannes Hannes SWOBODA (PES, AT) lent his group’s “full support to
Estonia and the Estonian people”, saying “any outside intervention by
Russia should be denounced”. A key point was that Russians must come
to understand that at the end of the war “many Russians did come as
liberators but the regime that they brought with them” also came “as
occupying forces and forces of oppression”. He wished that citizens
on all sides of the borders of the former eastern bloc would
acknowledge that “double reality”.
On behalf of the Liberals, Estonian MEP Siiri OVIIR spoke of the day
on 9 March 1944 when 40% of Tallinn was laid waste by Soviet bombers
and the later deportation of many Estonians to Siberia. For such
reasons, she said, “the war memorial is associated in Estonian minds
with painful experiences”. She described the more recent events
leading up to the tension around the war memorial before concluding by
thanking all those who supported her country’s stance.
Brian CROWLEY (IE), on behalf of the UEN Group said: “I would like to
join my colleagues in firstly giving our solidarity and support to the
Estonian Government and to the Estonian people and, secondly, in
denouncing the bully-boy tactics of the Russian Government in what
they have attempted to create – the uncertainty and instability, not
only within Estonia but in all the Baltic States.
In many ways what we are witnessing is a new form of totalitarianism
or authoritarianism by utilisation of mobs in Moscow to attack an
Embassy, by utilising the power or strength of energy to try and make
people kneel to the influence of the Russian Government and, most
importantly of all, by a continuing desire to keep imposing symbols of
domination and of subjugation in areas that have gained their
independence from totalitarian regimes. Finally, may I say, a most
ardent call should go out to the citizens of Estonia to show them that
now that they are part of the European Union, they will not be
abandoned as they were abandoned previously.”
Gabriele ZIMMER (DE) speaking for the GUE/NGL group, said that “the
domestic events in Tallinn have been taken out of all proportion.”
What was “a peaceful demonstration in Tallinn”, she continued, “turned
into a riot”, with regrettable behaviour by the police authorities.
“We here in the EP have to shoulder some of the responsibility”, she
continued, and said that the GUE/NGL group “call upon Russia to
respect international convections”, for “no obstacles should be placed
in the way of the EU-Russia summit.”
Nils LUNDGREN (IND/DEM, SE) stressed that “we should be turning to the
Russian government and should be saying that Russian minorities do
have rights”, but reminding Russia that “Estonia is an autonomous
country that does not fall within the sphere of influence of the
Russian state.” Russia therefore “has no right to do what it’s doing
now.” Current events, Mr Lundgren continued, have “nothing to do with
Hitler and what happened under Hitler.” Mr Lundgren concluded by
stating that “Estonia is not a Russian country, it’s an independent
Bruno GOLLNISCH (FR), speaking for the ITS group, said that it was
possible to “understand the humiliation of Russian minorities”, yet
equally important that we “leave Estonia free” to find a way of
honouring legitimate sacrifices during conflicts in which people
defended the sovereignty of their nation.