Estonia's online citizen services partially paralyzed by rats – Web & Technik


Gnawed earth cable

Estonia's online citizen services partly paralyzed by rats

A rat is sitting on a dirt road.
A rat is sitting on a dirt road.

Photo: dpa

In Europe, Estonia is considered one of the pioneers of digital administration – and has extensively protected its computer systems against attacks from the Internet.

However, dangers lurk in the animal kingdom as well: Because rats had gnawed a cable between two state data centers in the capital Tallinn, several online citizen services were temporarily unavailable in the Baltic EU country. Affected were, inter alia, the prescription system for digital prescriptions and the website of the lottery company "Eesti Loto", as the State Information Services Office announced. The several hours lasting disturbance is now fixed.

"It was a fiber-optic data cable that is widely used in telecommunications, rodents have damaged it in several places, and we had to replace tens of meters of cable to fix the problem," official Kaido Plovits told Estonian radio on Thursday. During the disruption on Wednesday, a part of the data exchange was automatically moved to another main line, the rest was changed over manually. "The entire state network has not collapsed, just a small part of it, whose backup has not yet been automated," said Plovits.

In Estonia, which likes to call itself "E-Estonia", around 1.3 million ordinary citizens can do almost all administrative procedures online with just a few mouse clicks. The baltic state has already relocated many citizen services and public offerings to the internet. Since 2005 Estonians can also vote online.

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