I usually don’t comment on foreign affairs but I noticed an interesting story in the May 12 edition of The Economist. Estonia managed to tick off the Russian government over the removal of a Soviet war memorial and it appears the Russians launched an attack on their former satellite and now neighbor. A cyber attack that is. The Denial of Service attacks, which apparently originated from Russian government computers soon spread (via the Internet of course) to other Russian language sites who were instructed on how to shut down Estonian internet. To protect the internet for domestic use, Estonian cut off the links to the outside world, which means it lost its ability not only to do business but to communicate about their tiff with their bully of a neighbor. This interesting comment resulted: “We are back to the stone age, telling the world what is going on with phone and fax,” said an Estonian internet expert. Wow, I remember using phone and fax–thought it was more recent than the stone age.
I guess the whole story shows what is going on in the world of information. Estonia, what many of us might consider a backwater country, is terribly dependent on the internet for taking its place in the world. Going back to phone and fax–what I’m afraid some large companies and organizations in the US still depend on too much for communications–is devastating. What is more intriguing and perhaps frightening, is the realization that this kind of activity may be a precursor for the battles of the future–both commercial and military. We depend on the internet for more and more every day. Take it away and we may be in deep trouble.