At a Thursday event, Dmitri Alperovitch, president of Asymmetric Cyber Operations LLC, put nation states ahead of other threats such as terrorist groups, hacktivist collectives and organized crime, NextGov reported.
“I don’t believe we have a cyber problem today,” Alperovitch said. “I believe we have a China problem today. I believe we have a Russia problem today.”
Cyberattacks organized by a nation are also easy to deny, Alperovitch said, making a law enforcement or military response difficult.
Estonia was the first country to suffer a coordinated cyberattack on government and financial systems in 2007. Estonian ambassador Marina Kaljurand, then the country’s ambassador to Russia, said the government suspected Russia was behind the attack but that proving it was difficult.
“If the Russian government wasn’t supporting [the attack], it was at least tolerating it,” Kaljurand said according to NextGov.
In response, Estonia reached out to private hacker groups for assistance in shoring up its cyber defenses. The country offered financial support in return, and Kaljurand said trust is key to cybersecurity.
“This cooperation can only be based on trust,” Kaljurand said. “If there is no trust, there cannot be cooperation.”