Estonia’s recent parliamentary elections, in which the majority of citizens cast their ballots using the country’s internet voting system, were targeted by cyberattacks that were ultimately unsuccessful, according to Gert Auväärt, the head of Estonia’s National Cyber Security Centre. Auväärt stated that his team was on high alert during the election, and while they detected a range of attempted attacks, none were successful. Estonia has been praised by Sir Richard Moore, head of the UK’s MI6, for its foreign intelligence service, and is considered a leading authority on Russia among NATO allies.
Kaja Kallas, Estonia’s prime minister, warned at the Munich Cyber Security Conference in February that cyberattacks against her country have been increasing and evolving since the war in Ukraine began. She noted that Russian attackers are learning from their failed attempts and constantly trying new tactics. Despite almost a quarter of Estonia’s population being ethnic Russians, there is no significant sympathy for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine among Estonian political parties. The liberal Reform party, led by Kallas, secured the largest proportion of votes in the recent election.
Auväärt emphasized that attempts at election interference, ranging from phishing campaigns to distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, are a constant threat. Estonia has faced “massive waves” of cyberattacks over the past year, particularly following moments of political tension with Russia, such as when Estonia’s Parliament described Russia as a terrorist state. Estonia has also provided more military equipment to Ukraine, as a proportion of its GDP per capita, than any other nation. Auväärt believes that it is unlikely that Estonia will return to a “calm” state anytime soon, and that the country will continue to face cyber threats.
In conclusion, Estonia’s recent parliamentary elections were targeted by cyberattacks, but the country’s internet voting system remained secure. Estonia has faced a constant wave of cyberattacks, particularly during periods of political tension with Russia. The country is recognized as a leading authority on Russia among NATO allies and has provided significant military equipment to Ukraine. Despite attempts at interference, Estonia’s political parties are largely unsympathetic to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.