- [2018-12-21] Estonian criminal police has once again published job advertisement that requires to solve some puzzle. This time there is a cryptic MySQL database published.
- [2018-12-20] Martin Paljak discovered that PIN envelopes for the new generation Estonian ID cards (issued by IDEMIA) have a security flaw which allows to see through the envelope with flashlight.
- [2018-12-19] Due to some human error, several confidential contracts were available publicly on the Ministry of the Environment file management system.
- [2018-12-12] RIA has announced EUR 315k procurement to create SIGa (Signature and Signature Validation Service) which will enable public authorities to add digital signature support to their e-services with minimal development costs. RIA has already created a federated authentication system (supports ID card, Mobile-ID and bank link authentication) which can be used by the public sector.
- [2018-12-04] Cryptography professor Dominique Unruh (UT) has been awarded a 1.7 million grant by ERC to develop quantum cryptography solutions and their computer-based control methods.
- [2018-12-03] The new generation ID cards are being issued by IDEMIA. The cards have color photo and new physical security features. Contact-less interface is disabled by default – requires security analysis before enabling. New cards uses different API (IAS ECC standard), therefore software has to be updated. In the new specification the “Card Management Key” has been renamed to “Police Key”. This has raised suspicion about possible backdoor key in the ID card.
- [2018-11-28] Estonian Defence Forces Cyber Command (military unit performing also offensive cyber operations) is hiring. The competitive advantage for work in Cyber Command is that people are given quite free hands (because there is no money to be made) and access to exclusive weapon systems not seen in the private sector. The unit has been assembled from the existing staff and communications battalion. The primary recruitment point is the conscripts.
- [2018-11-28] The head of the Institute of Estonian Academy of Security Sciences (SKA) wants to hold a debate about making the state’s work easier by allowing it to analyze masses of cell phone data. There is an opinion that the state is already using far more cell phone data than is admissible for ensuring privacy.
- [2018-11-09] RIA’s Director General Taimar Peterkop has been appointed by the Prime Minister Jüri Ratas as Secretary of State. Peterkop played a key role in solving the 2017 ID card crisis. New head of RIA is to be appointed.
- [2018-11-08] Smart-ID solution has been certified by German TUViT as a qualified signature creation device (SSCD), hence Smart-ID signatures now are legally equivalent to handwritten signature. From service provider’s perspective, however, the transaction cost for Smart-ID is double the cost of Mobile-ID. Smart-ID still cannot be used for I-voting, because currently the law requires electronic voter identification using a document issued by the Estonian state.
- [2018-11-07] Estonians working in airports and airplanes must fill out a ten-page KAPO form, which requires them to specify, among other things, the names of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social accounts, all telephone numbers, and even the current place of residence and contact details of “previous spouse or person similar to marriage”. It is estimated that up to 3,000 people may be subject to a such background check required by the Minister of the Interior from October 30.
- [2018-11-07] Personal identification code for the woman was updated due to the change of date of birth. The state information systems were not ready for such change. Around 300 persons will get new personal identification code because of updated date of birth.
- [2018-11-06] PPA submitted one more claim against Gemalto asking 300k EUR for not informing PPA about the ID card ROCA vulnerability.
- [2018-11-06] RIA plans to create few 2-3 minutes long educational videos showing how cyber attacks happen.
- [2018-11-06] Criminals took over transaction partners’ email accounts and phished out from Estonian company 80k EUR.
- [2018-10-31] Owners of 3-year valid digital ID cards can remotely extend their Digi-ID validity to 5 years.
- [2018-10-25] Gemalto has submitted counter-claim against PPA for PPA being in bad faith (whatever it means) in the compromise negotiations in September.
- [2018-10-19] CERT.LV organized international cybersecurity conference “Cyberchess 2018”. Webapp pentester from Estonia Silvia Väli (Clarified Security) talked about the vulnerabilities she found in the Electron framework.
- [2018-10-18] SilverTicket system had a flaw which allowed to buy tickets without paying for them. The user had to simply access the return URL visible in the bank link request.
- [2018-10-15] Due to unknown error, for years sensitive personal data of children was publicly available in the Estonian Schools Information System (EKIS) document register.
- [2018-10-10] Interview in jail with Russian student Aleksei Vasilev accused of penetrating state systems on the orders of FSB. According to him, he wrote a code to access the internal wireless network of an unnamed state agency. He is disappointed that Russian authorities show no interest to help him in his situation.
- [2018-10-10] In the Riigikogu scientific policy conference Professor of Information Security Ahto Buldas (TalTech) in his presentation “E-government base-technologies as a secure protector” stated that current e-government information systems have not been built with the knowledge of engineering based on scientific worldview and attack resistance of systems and components has not been measured. He invited the state to cooperate with universities.
- [2018-10-05] Starting from November it is possible to buy tickets in Tallinn public transport using contact-less bank cards.
- [2018-10-01] Estonian police is using license plate recognition cameras on the Estonian roads (scale not known). Large part of cameras used by police have known security vulnerabilities.
- [2018-09-27] Police (PPA) sued Gemalto claiming 152 million for generating keys outside Estonian ID card.
- [2018-09-21] Last year Estonian security authorities eavesdropped on a total of 4,596 calls made in Telia’s network. This is ten times that of Sweden (taking into account countries’ population). Judges sign off on an average of 90% of the wiretap requests. Of all wiretaps 30% concern drug crime investigations, and another 30% suspected corruption cases. Number of wiretaps has stayed the same in recent years. For the purpose of counterintelligence the Office of the Prosecutor General does not need to suspect someone of having committed a crime to order a wiretap. Frequently the information obtained is in turn used to open actual criminal proceedings against individuals.
- [2018-09-20] Professor of eGovernment Robert Krimmer (TalTech) calculated price for voting, i-vote being the cheapest (2.32 EUR) compared to voting on election day (4.37 EUR).
- [2018-09-19] eID Forum 2018 was held on 19-20 September. ID card 2017 crisis was among the discussed topics.
- [2018-09-18] In the context of upcoming elections, RIA will provide personalized cybersecurity counseling to political parties and will pentest their websites. RIA has also significantly contributed to the ENISA handbook on election security “Compendium on Cyber Security of Election Technology”.
- [2018-09-17] Cybernetica AS and TalTech organizes Second Workshop on the Protection of Long-Lived Systems (17-18 September, Pärnu, Estonia).
- [2018-09-12] Draft regulation has been prepared for allowing the face recognition robots to identify people who apply for Mobile-ID. The purpose is to enable enrollment for Mobile-ID without the need to confirm the application using the ID-card. It would be necessary to visit the PPA only if identification by robot fails.
- [2018-09-07] Cybernetica AS won the defense ministry’s procurement to prepare study to identify opportunities in the Estonian economy in the field of cryptography and to develop concrete proposals to enable the development of the field at national level.
- [2018-09-06] Apparently Gemalto leaked to local journalists some internal presentation trying to convince the public that Gemalto informed the Estonian state about the ID card vulnerability (ROCA) already in June 15, 2017. In the response PPA concluded that Gemalto is not interested in compromise and will settle the dispute in court.
- [2018-09-05] Märt Põder in Civic Tech Stockholm #2 explains Estonian I-voting.
- [2018-09-04] Article “Key Factors in Coping with Large-scale Security Vulnerabilities in the eID Field” by Silvia Lips, Ingrid Pappel, Valentyna Tsap, Dirk Draheim. Describes few positive and negative effects of the vulnerability and key factors that helped to cope with the Estonian ID-card crisis 2017.
- [2018-09-04] Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar has been appointed cybersecurity ambassador (Ambassador at Large for Cyber Diplomacy), being responsible for developing Estonia’s foreign policy on cyber security, ensuring its coordinated implementation, representing Estonia in international organisations and contributing to international cooperation in the field.
- [2018-09-01] Jaak Tarien takes over as director of NATO CCDCOE. The current director Merle Maigre will go to work for CybExer Technologies.
- [2018-08-31] Significant DDoS attack by unknown actors for half an hour hit news portals owned by Express Group (Delfi, EPL, Eesti Ekspress, Õhtuleht) and PPA website.
- [2018-08-08] There are ideas for the next generation ID card to replace PIN-based cardholder verification with fingerprint verification.
- [2018-08-06] Tele2 could not provide roaming service for its customers due to faulty software update by Comfone. The failure lasted for several hours. As a compensation Tele2 will cancel the monthly bill for the affected customers.
- [2018-07-22] Card payments and ATMs for two hours were down on Sunday due to malfunction on Nets Estonia side.
- [2018-07-06] Smart-ID is soon to be certified as qualified signature creation device (QSCD). This will require change from 4096-bit to 6144-bit RSA keys (providing 3072-bit RSA security).
This past weekend, Estonian Internal Security Service agents at the border checkpoint in Narva arrested a man on his way to Russia suspected of acting as an agent for the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). The Russian citizen is suspected of non-violent activities against the Republic of Estonia and the preparation of computer-related crime. The targets in his activities against Estonia were Estonian state agencies.
The suspect is a young man with a very high IT skills proficiency. He arrived in Estonia «some time ago» with a valid visa. This was supposed to dispel all suspicions. The Estonian Internal Security Service (KAPO) believes the man was instructed by the FSB on what to do and take interest in while still in Russia. The young man was supposed to use his skills to find weaknesses in the computer networks of Estonian state agencies. Because KAPO needed proof of the agents actions, and because there was no direct and acute threat to the state, the agency placed the spy under surveillance and allowed him to continue his activities. Postimees has been told that all attempts by the IT specialist to penetrate Estonian networks failed. The man was apprehended a few hundred yards from the Russian border in Narva while on his way back during the weekend.
Story by the Russian news agency 47news.ru:
On suspicion of cyber espionage, the special services of Estonia detained a 20-year-old student from Kingisepp – Aleksei Vasilev. He was called an agent of the FSB. And 47news believes that so treacherous neighbors want to humiliate our State security.
As far as it is currently known, Aleksei from age 16 to 19 studied in the Estonian college (Ida-Virumaa Vocational Education Centre). Then a year he worked in Russia, at age 19 he returned to Estonia and started studies (in Virumaa College of TUT) as a programmer. In Estonia he resided on the basis of student’s residence permit.
With the Aleksei’s 38-year-old mother, Elena Pesovets, the embassy already talked. She is also a resident of Kingisepp. The 47news also talked with Elena.
– Aleksei graduated from some kind of a specialized class?
No, the usual Kingisepp school. Nine classes. Then he went to Sillamäe College (Ida-Virumaa Vocational Education Centre) to study as a programmer. Then for the higher education in Kohtla-Jarve (Virumaa College of TUT). He planned to work in profession.
– But why he did not try to study in Petersburg?
In St. Petersburg, tuition fees must be paid, but in Estonia it is free.
– But to work, to build a career he planned in Russia?
He did not think about it yet, he wanted to get the higher education, and after that to choose.
– Did he had any problems with the Estonian language?
He does not know Estonian well. But in Sillamäe and Kohtla-Järve studies are in Russian. It was not required to know Estonian to study.
– Computers are his main hobby?
Yes, he was fond of computers. But his friends, like for every guy – classmates. He does not smoke, does not drink alcohol, does not rove. Every weekend he came home. He has two brothers. All the time at home with them.
– And he lived on a scholarship or worked part-time somewhere?
He got a scholarship, and I gave him money. Like all students.
– Did you spoke with your son?
There is no connection. No possibilities to meet. I am preparing the documents. I only know one thing: my son is not a criminal.
In this story there is an incomprehensible or unpleasant yet nuance. When, after detention, an employee of the Russian embassy arrived at the detention center, instead of Aleksei, a police officer came out. He acquainted our diplomat with the paper signed by the detainee. In it, Aleksei says that he is acquainted with his rights, but he does not need the services of the embassy. But most likely, this is a childish step.