Estonia recruits hundreds for its Defence League Cyber Unit

As one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, Estonia is also one of the most vulnerable—as brutally illustrated in 2007 when the country suffered one of the biggest cyber-attacks to date.

Acknowledging this precarious position, Estonia has assembled a volunteer army of hundreds of civilian computer experts who are committed to defending their nation against cyber-attack. As part of Estonia's reserve force, the Estonian Defence League, the recruits for this Cyber Unit include teachers, lawyers and economists.

With constantly evolving cyber-attacks becoming more frequent and complex, lack of expertise and manpower can be a major obstacle for governments to meet the climbing demands of cyber-security preparedness. Creating a pool of civilian volunteers who are available in an emergency, as Estonia has done, is a solution that could soon be seeing world-wide adoption.

General Jonathan Shaw, the former head of Britain's Defence Cyber Security Programme, believes that the UK should follow Estonia's example.

"We need a cyber reserve and that reserve should be largely civilian," General Shaw told online news sources. "Don't think camouflage, short-back-and-sides and weapons training. It's ponytails, earrings and thick spectacles – that's what we need."