Estonian student convicted for 2007 attack against Estonian Web sites

Published 25 January 2008

A 20-year-old Estonian student has been fined $1,642 for launching a cyber attack which crippled the Web sites of banks, schools, and government agencies

So it was not the KGB successor organization, after all: A 20-year-old Estonian student has been fined for participating in a cyber attack which paralyzed Estonian Web sites and soured the country’s relationship with Russia, a government official said yesterday. Dmitri Galushkevich used his home PC to launch a denial-of-service attack that knocked down the Web site for the political party of Estonia’s prime minister for several days, said Gerrit Maesalu, spokesman for the Northeast District Prosecutor’s Office in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital. Galushkevich must pay 17,500 kroons ($1,642). Galushkevich is the only person who has been convicted since the cyber attack in April and May 2007 crippled the Web sites of banks, schools, and government agencies. The attacks occurred after the Estonian government decided to relocate a Soviet-era Second World War memorial of a bronze soldier. Ethnic Russians in Estonia rioted in the streets, and cyber attacks ensued. Russia denied involvement. “He [Galushkevich] wanted to show that he was against the removal of this bronze statue,” Maesalu. “At the moment, we don’t have any other suspects.”

Police are still trying to find others who may have been involved in the attacks, although the investigation is complicated since the attackers are likely outside Estonia, Maesalu said. As the attacks were continuing, Estonian defense minister Jaak Aaviksoo called for stronger defenses in Europe against computer hackers.