Blackmail using Malware is on the rise – 18th Semi Annual Report MELANI

Berne, 15.04.2014 - Blackmail using malware is not only on the rise, but is becoming extremely malicious. In September 2013 the malware «Cryptolocker» was detected for the first time. It encrypts all data stored on the computer and thereby blackmails its victims to make payments. This, as well as other common incidents of customer and credit card data theft, the newest revelations surrounding the NSA, Bitcoin and tampering with industrial control systems, are the main focus of today’s publication of the MELANI Report for the second half of 2013.

The second half of 2013 was once again characterized by extensive reporting on the deceptive business practices of the NSA and other intelligence services. This semi-annual report summarizes the findings which harden the evidence that these foreign intelligence services are collecting data in a comprehensive and nationwide manner.

Ransomware is widespread

Blackmailing malware, so called Ransomware has been in circulation for a long time. With A very widespread type of Ransomware  a message from for instance a fictional police authority appears on the computer screen, suggesting that illegal data was found on the computer. The user will be tempted to avert impending criminal proceedings through making a payment. However, the impact of the recently detected malware «Cryptolocker» has been much more detrimental. It encrypts all data on the hard disk and external data devices and makes them inaccessible for the user.

Millions of stolen credit cards and customer data

Stolen credit cards and customer data is sold by the attacker and turned into cash. In the second half of 2013 a major attack on the US company Adobe has surfaced. According to information by Adobe 38 million customer data, passwords and credit card data was stolen. The retail chain target also announced that during the Christmas season 2013 around 70 million customer data was stolen.

Bitcoin: The price of success

Digital currencies such as Bitcoin are also on the rise. The second semi-annual report 2013 not only illustrates the workings of Bitcoin, but also gives answers on topics such as security, legal status and regulation.

Networked Industrial facilities and remote controlled installations for private housing

Technical progress has made it possible that installations for industrial facilities and private housing, so called industrial control systems, can be controlled remotely. MELANI has released a check list in her last semi-annual report, which has been further updated in this current semi-annual report. For example, it explains in more detail the «Good Practices» of the OSCE for the reduction of cyber risks in the energy sector.

Address for enquiries

Max Klaus, deputy head MELANI
Federal IT Steering Unit FITSU
+41 (0)31 323 45 07 / +41 (0)58 463 45 07


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

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