Amid worries of Russian cyber-invasion, Estonia to store citizen data in UK

The Baltic nation state was hit by a massive Russian cyber-offensive in 2007.

estonia
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Estonia is planning to back up its entire store of citizen data in the UK, fearing another cyberattack from neighboring Russia.

A report by The Financial Times said the small Baltic state plans to create a virtual copy of its country's data, from birth details and banking records to its electoral roll and property deeds, in case Russian hackers steal or destroy data.

Sensitive government data will remain stored in servers at Estonia's embassies, but other important, non-governmental data are set to be stored in a secure datacenter.

Estonia is one of the most connected and technologically advanced nations going -- let alone in the European Union. Much of the country is paperless and run from online services. Even members of parliament are elected through an e-voting, a rarity among modern nations.

But the country came to realize its reliance on online-based services, when a 2007 cyberattack effectively cut off citizens from the government and the outside world for weeks.

Denial-of-service attacks and a massive spam campaign crippled networks and systems, like banks and government institutions, for weeks.

It was long believed that Russia was behind the massive cyberattack, though Moscow denied any involvement.

Fearing a repeat, Taavi Kotka, Estonia's cyber chief, told the financial daily that if something "really bad happened, we want to be able to say that our country still remains... we will still be able to be a country even if we don't have our territory".

The negotiations are still in an early stage, with a bilateral agreement some time away.