By Patrick Howell O'Neill
Some moments that change the course of history are obvious instantly.
The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 2003 invasion of Iraq. Broadcast live around the globe, the gruesome images of these events set the stage for the 21st century. Everyone knew it even while the cameras were rolling.
Others you have likely never heard of.
On a chilly Baltic spring day in 2007, a much quieter act of violence began with just an error message here, a disconnected server there. It would end by crippling the institutions of a major European capital, escalating what had been a war of words between two countries, Russia and Estonia, into something unprecedented: Cyberwar.
This surreptitious smash into Estonia's digital heart sparked a shift in the fighting stance of the world’s most powerful militaries, richest governments, and most cutting-edge private companies that continues to this day.
Estonians compare the day to their own 9/11. Imagine what would happen if Wall St. financial institutions and every American bank was crushed under the weight of a cyberattack while Washington, D.C.'s institutions fell apart under the same withering offensive. Meanwhile, what if no one could read newspapers or call 911?
That's the level of attack that Estonia faced.
In July 2016, the world's most powerful military alliance will meet in Poland. Over the last decade, NATO's priorities have changed. In the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, an attack by Russia—of any kind—once seemed almost inconceivable.
But military tension has returned to Eastern Europe as Russia and NATO eye each other warily. The Western alliance was shifting, its centers of power moving steadily eastward to capitals like Warsaw, Ankara, and Tallinn. Two old rivals are standing up.
The pressure has been building since that historic moment in 2007.
It’s been called Web War I. That’s how new and monumental this incident was for those who experienced it. It set the stage for Web Wars to come. And it all started with a statue.More: http://www.dailydot.com/politics/web-war-cyberattack-russia-estonia/