Estonian President Alar Karis
Estonian President Alar Karis speaks at the CyCon conference in Tallinn in May 2024. Image: NATO CCDCOE / Flickr

All democracies 'struggling’ with foreign manipulation, warns Estonian president

TALLINN, Estonia — “All democracies today are struggling with new ways of foreign manipulation through internet platforms,” Estonia’s President Alar Karis warned on Wednesday.

“The cyber world allows our adversaries to cheaply and covertly subvert our society. Cyber attackers are becoming more and more unpredictable and crafty,” he said in a keynote speech at the International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CyCon), adding that the number of high-impact cyber incidents in Estonia had increased by 25% in 2023.

“This trend is similar in many other countries. The attackers are increasingly politically motivated and they increasingly benefit from better infrastructure and coordination,” said the president.

The risks were even more keen for Estonia, which prides itself on being highly digitalized. “Almost all parts of our lives — from schools and kindergartens to cow milking machines — are connected to the internet,” said Karis.

“That's good, that's what we want. We want everyday tasks to be easy, convenient and fast. We want digital solutions to be the engines of our economies. We don’t have to give up on that desire, even if it makes us more vulnerable. Instead, our defensive measures must modernize too.”

Read More: Meta says most EU election interference domestic in origin, not Russian

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Alexander Martin

Alexander Martin

is the UK Editor for Recorded Future News. He was previously a technology reporter for Sky News and is also a fellow at the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative.