Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have dramatically risen in numbers, complexity and size in the second quarter of 2016 with Russia as a top target, new figures show. According to cybersecurity firm Nexusguard's latest threat report, DDoS attacks have rapidly increased by 83% to more than 182,900 in Q2.
Home to their own fair share of cybercriminals, Russia has become the top victim country with 76,462 attacks in the second quarter, a massive increase after being placed seventh in the first quarter with 3,654 attacks. Russian internet service provider Starlink, which supports small, medium and large enterprises, was on the receiving end of over 40% of the DDoS attacks in a persistent two- day assault.
The report notes that the attack took place "at about the same time that Ukrainian hacktivists were seen bragging to the media about hacking into Russian video feeds and identifying Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine". Researchers say the increase in Russian cyberattacks could be due to nationalist hacktivists firing targeted attacks to knock Russian businesses offline, as opposed to popular DDoS-for-hire related outbreaks.
"There's plenty of data to back up this observation," the report says. "The victims of the Starlink attack have been identified as various organisations inside of Russia, including an energy products company, a bank, a medical device manufacturer, a clinic, and the internal communications services of the Starlink network itself."
China and the US were also top targets for DDoS attacks, coming in second and third with 28,399 and 23,738 attacks respectively. France (13,953 attacks) and Great Britain (4,334 attacks) rounded up the top five victim countries on the list.
While China saw a 50% increase in attacks this quarter, the US saw a 5% decline. The number of attacks targeting Brazil, placed ninth on the list in Q2, reduced by more than half since the previous quarter
The report found that cybercriminals are also experimenting with new, bolder attack methodologies.
With rising political tensions across the globe, the summer Olympics in Brazil just around the corner and the upcoming US presidential election, researchers are predicting another spike in DDoS activity in the next quarter.
"We were surprised to see an increase in DDoS attacks this quarter, especially as hackers experiment with ransomware, phishing schemes and other data-grabbing methods for monetary gain," Terrence Gareau, chief scientist at Nexusguard, said in a statement. "Organisations can expect cyberattacks to continue growing in frequency this year, especially with more attention on the Summer Olympics and the November election season in the US."
"The results from this quarter also show how important it is to not only protect your website, but also to plan for new payloads and attacks on your infrastructure."