Encryption Trojans still on the rise

Berne, 29.10.2019 - The 29th semi-annual report of the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI) addresses the most important cyberincidents of the first half of 2019 both in Switzerland and abroad. The main focus of the current report is cyberattacks with encryption Trojans, which caused considerable damage worldwide during the first half of the year.

Encryption Trojans, so-called "ransomware", are currently one of the most serious cyberthreats to companies, organisations and public administrations. A successful attack not only requires time, manpower and money to clean up systems and recover lost data, but can also damage a company's reputation or result in a loss of productivity over a certain period. The city of Bern provides a comprehensive picture of such an encryption attack, by describing its own experience with a ransomware incident. In addition, the Zurich Cantonal Police explain the problem from the perspective of the investigators. MELANI also provides recommendations on protecting oneself from such attacks.

Cybersecurity support for small and medium-sized enterprises

Industrial control systems, such as for the power supply, can also be the target of cyberattacks. In spring 2019, the association Electrosuisse conducted a study on cybersecurity at small and medium-sized energy suppliers in Switzerland. The study showed that attention is paid to cybersecurity at all companies, but that further measures are needed to ensure information security, particularly at smaller companies. To increase information security, a cybersecurity cooperation initiative has been launched by an alliance of public utilities. This network will enable all the partners to benefit from each other's experience and work together to achieve an ongoing improvement in cybersecurity levels.

Extortion using fake sextortion still going strong

In the first half of 2019, there was an increase in the number of fake sextortion emails, in which attackers claimed to have hacked recipients' computers and to be in possession of material showing them accessing pornographic content online. Unfortunately, many people are still paying the ransom. In response, MELANI teamed up with various partners in spring 2019 to launch the website www.stop-sextorion.ch, to increase public awareness of the problem. For anyone affected by this issue, the website provides information on what to do if the blackmailers really do have compromising material.

Address for enquiries

Max Klaus, Deputy Head of the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance MELANI
Federal IT Steering Unit FITSU
Tel. +41 58 463 45 07


Federal IT Steering Unit (ab 01.01.2021: Digitale Transformation und IKT-Lenkung)

General Secretariat DDPS

Last modification 08.12.2020

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