Cyberextortion: key topic in MELANI semi-annual report

Berne, 28.10.2016 - The 23rd semi-annual report of the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI), published today, highlights the main national and international cyber incidents of the first half of 2016. In its key topic, the report analyses the increased numbers of attacks using cyberextortion. The report also focuses on various data leaks.

MELANI has noticed a significant increase in cyberattacks coupled with extortion demands for money since January 2016. These attacks aim to render the victims' data unusable. This is usually done by using Trojans to encrypt data or by overloading the server with malicious DDoS attacks. The victim then receives a demand for payment of a ransom. The attackers set their sights on data or systems that are of value to an individual or company and are important enough that the victim is willing to pay a ransom. The semi-annual report shows the strategy behind these attacks, how to react if affected and means of prevention.

In the first half of 2016, 6,000 hacked email and password combinations were forwarded to MELANI. These accounts could have been misused for illegal purposes such as fraud, extortion or phishing if the users did not immediately change the passwords. In order to support possible victims, MELANI published an online tool for checking whether one's email address had been hacked.

Address for enquiries

Max Klaus
Deputy Head of the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance MELANI
Federal IT Steering Unit FITSU
Tel. 058 463 45 07


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

Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports