Commercial hackers in Russia are giving way to politically motivated cyber criminals targeting ideological enemies, a new study said Wednesday.
The most powerful DDoS attacks on Russian websites in the first six months of 2014 were triggered by the political crisis in Ukraine, digital security company Qrator Labs revealed.
February's Olympic Games in Sochi also prompted a spike in DDoS attacks, said the study, as reported by Bfm.ru news website.
Hacker attacks in Russia have generally decreased in quantity, but have become more powerful compared with the first six months of 2013, the report said.
About 2,700 distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks occurred during the first six months of 2014, compared with 4,400 over the same period last year, Bfm.ru said.
But the number of powerful attacks upward of 1 Gbps increased five times to more than 7 percent of the total, the report said, citing Qrator Labs digital security company.
Some of the attacks peaked at 120 to 160 Gbps, the report said.
Attack time also grew significantly, with DDoS strikes lasting up to 91 days, compared with 21 days in the first half of 2013.
Average botnet size tripled from 136,000 to 420,000 machines per attack.
This indicates ideological motivation on behalf of the attackers, who, unlike criminal hackers attacking websites for money, have more time at their disposal, Qrator Labs was quoted as saying.
The media made the list of prime DDoS targets along with payment systems and real estate websites. Last season, Forex websites and online stock exchanges accounted for the "absolute majority" of the attacks, the study said, without providing exact figures.