FBI appoints first cybercrime expert outside US

TALLINN, ESTONIA – The FBI is to base a computer crime expert in Estonia later this year, the first such posting outside the US.

The US authorities are increasingly concerned about international cybercrime, and particularly its potential for terrorism.  Earlier this year, President Barack Obama announced plans for a major cybersecurity review, describing cybercrime as a risk comparable to nuclear or biological attack.

Last year, NATO established a cyberdefense centre in Estonia, and it seems likely that the two organisations will work together.

The FBI says it has picked Estonia because of its well-developed IT infrastructure and expertise in information technology – Estonia is widely regarded as by far the most technologically developed country in Eastern Europe. Its government also has a strong determination to fight cybercrime, which has been particularly prevalent in the region.

Estonia knows all about the problem, having suffered from a series of crippling attacks on private and public computer systems in 2007. Russia was widely believed to have been behind the attacks, which were apparently prompted by the removal of a monument to the Red Army from a Tallinn square.