communications system by overloading it. The conflict also saw myriad U.S. state-sponsored efforts to disrupt Milosevic’s command and control.46 Later the “Moonlight Maze” attacks of 2001became the most extensive computer attack aimed at the U.S. government to that point. Allegedly state-sponsored Russian hackers penetrated DOD computers for more than a year to secure technology from U.S. agencies such as the DOE and NASA, as well as from military contractors and universities.47 But no country has ever before experienced a cyber attack on the scale of the 2007 assault on Estonia.
Timeline of Estonian Cyber Attack
The first full-scale cyber attack on a state broke amidst a furious row between Estonia and Russia over the removal of a Soviet-era statue and war graves from the center of the capital city, Tallinn.48 Thousands of ethnic Russians Estonian rioted over the removal of what they view as a cherished reminder of wartime sacrifice.49 The majority of Estonians though viewed the statute as a symbol of a hated foreign occupation. The majority of Russians did not. In Moscow, a Kremlin-youth movement surrounded and attacked the Estonian embassy prompting protests from the U.S., NATO, and the E.U. The main group behind the protests in Russia is the government-funded pro-Kremlin “Nashi su” (“Youth Movement, Ours!”), which was created in 2005 as an anti-fascist student group that has since grown to more than 100,000 members.50
46 See generally Anthony H. Cordesman, Justin G. Cordesman, Cyber-Threats, Information Warfare, and Critical Infrastructure (2002).
47 Elinor Abreu, Epic cyberattack reveals cracks in US defense, CNN, May 10, 2001. Joyner, supra note 15.
48 The Soviets had built the monument in 1947 to commemorate their war dead after driving the Nazis out of the region at the end of World War II. Davis, supra note 2.
49 Economist, supra note 40.
50 It is commonly thought that the group was formed as a reaction to the student protests leading to Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004. The official group website is: . Last visited: 4/18/2008.