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Estonia's Role in Cyber Security

September 15, 2020
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For the benefit of the geographically challenged, Estonia is the northernmost of the three small republics on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Esther Naylor, a research assistant at Chatham House, has written a post in Cyber Security Intelligence about how Estonia is taking a leading role in global cyber security.

For the first time in its history, Estonia is the president of the UN Security Council. It began its term by holding an event on cyber stability, conflict prevention and capacity building.

After cyber attacks in 2007 suspected to have originated in Russia, Estonia became a model in developing cyber incident response.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen an escalation in cyber attacks, including attacks on healthcare institutions. World leaders have been urging the UN to take action. In 2015 countries agreed on voluntary commitments for state behavior in cyberspace. The problem is implementation. There are two UN groups working on global cyberspace governance, the Open Ended Working Group of all countries and the Group of Governmental Experts from 25 countries. Both these groups were to deliver reports over the next two years to the UN General Assembly, but COVID-19 will probably delay the process.

The Security Council has been unable to pass a resolution on the pandemic and its threat. Estonia's election to the Council is an opportunity for action, and for showing that small states can play a role in protecting cyberspace.