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First conviction for Estonia's 'cyberwar'

A 20-year-old Russian has been fined for his involvement last spring in a massive cyberattack against Estonian Web sites.

Robert Vamosi Former Editor
As CNET's former resident security expert, Robert Vamosi has been interviewed on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets to share his knowledge about the latest online threats and to offer advice on personal and corporate security.
Robert Vamosi

A 20-year-old Russian has been convicted for organizing some of the attacks on Estonia's government sites during spring 2007, the Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday.

"Dmitri Galushkevich is the first hacker to be sentenced for organizing a massive cyberattack against an Estonian Web page," Gerrit Maesalu, spokesman for the regional prosecutor's office in northeast Estonia, told the AFP. Galushkevich was fined 17,500 krooni (about $1,600). He admitted his guilt, said Maesalu.

The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which some security experts have alternatively called a flash mob or the first-ever cyberwar, was prompted by an Estonian government plan to move a statue and grave sites honoring Russian-Estonians who died fighting the Nazis. From late April through mid-May 2007, various Internet-based services within Estonia were not accessible.

Estonians rely heavily on the Internet for basic services such as paying for food, water, and gas, said Gadi Evron, security evangelist for Beyond Security. Evron has studied the incident thoroughly. "The more technology there is within a country, the more dependent the country is on technology and therefore, the more vulnerable," he said.