Russia has been used as the launch-pad for a new wave of cyber-attacks aimed at a number of political and media organisations within the country.

The attacks targeted a number of organisations, including The Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations, the newspaper Kommersant, radio station the Echo of Moscow, the United Civil Front, a political body run by former chess champion Garry Kasparov.

The claim is that the attacks have happened with tacit approval of the Kremlin, though no evidence has been made public to back up this assertion.

These were severe enough to have caught the attention of the US Computer Emergency readiness team (US-CERT), and are being taken as another example of the recent trend in the country to use cyber-warfare for political purposes.

Geoff Sweeney, CTO of security firm Tier-3, commented on the new outbreak of cyber-intimidation. "The attacks are indicative of the rising level of electronic unrest in the former Soviet Union. With the Russians elections coming up at the end of this year, I expect the problem to get worse, rather than better.”

“The big question is whether organisations will not only be ready to defend against the standard DOS and DDOS type attacks, but also will they be able to withstand the next generation of low bandwidth highly complex DOS attacks.”

In May, an entire country, Estonia, declared itself to be under attack allegedly from shadowy Russian cyber-criminals with direct links to the Russian government. As with the attacks against Estonia, the new cyber-assaults have used distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) requests to overwhelm websites with traffic.