The massive denial-of-service attack that crippled many Estonian computers back in late April and early May of 2007, behind which many saw the hand of Russia, appears to have been waged by a handful of students.
Estonian authorities recently fined Dmitri Galushkevich, a 20-year-old ethnic Russian, the equivalent of about $1,620 for his role in an attack on the Web site of Reform Party of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, according to the BBC.
Ethnic Russians account for a quarter of Estonia's population of 1.3 million. Galushkevich reportedly was acting to protest the removal of a Soviet war memorial from Tallinn, Estonia's capital.
Estonian authorities are continuing to investigate the attacks and they continue to believe that some of those involved in the attacks are in Russia. According to McAfee, the malicious traffic directed at Estonian computers came from computers in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Vietnam, among other countries. Of course, the location of computers involved in the attacks doesn't necessarily indicate anything about the location of those initiating and directing the attacks.
In a report on cyber espionage issued late last year, McAfee quotes Mikel Tammet, director of the Estonian communication and information technology department, as saying, "It was a political campaign induced by the Russians; a political campaign designed to destroy our security and destroy our society."
At the time of the attacks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov denied that the Russian government was involved in the attacks in any way.
The extent to which governments around the world support nationalistic hacking is not clear. Whether governments encourage it, indirectly support it, or simply turn a blind eye toward it, hacking for king and country appears to be just the latest arrow in nations' political quivers.