Why Ransomware poses such a threat for SMEs

Ransomware attacks have become an increasing trend worldwide over the past two years. Just six months ago, for example, a ransomware called "Wannacry" stormed the entire web wrecking most damages in Europe. The ways in which any individual can be affected by this kind of virus are multiple: through email attachments, malicious links, a compromised ad or an exploit kits. Exploit kits act as true Trojan horses by searching for any weakness or entry point in a computer (usually old or not updated software) to install the ransomware. In most cases, this happens with the users being completely unaware.

What exactly is ransomware?

This is a perfectly designed piece of malware that aims at depriving the victim of access to his files with the only way out payment of a ransom. Once the virus is inside the computer, it can easily spread over a network making impossible to run normal operations and duties. There are two popular types of ransomware:

Encrypting ransomware: this includes sophisticated encryption algorithms meant to block system files. The victim is asked for payment to obtain the key to decrypt the blocked content.

Locker ransomware: this locks the victim out of the operating system making access to file or documents impossible. In this case, the files are not encrypted but the victim is still asked for payment to unlock the infected computer.

How can i recognize ransomware?

Ransomware has some unique key-features that set it apart from other kinds of malware:

• It can encrypt all types of files on a computer

• It displays images or messages that let users know their data have been encrypted and that they have to pay to get them back.

• It can spread to other PCs connected to the same network, causing even greater damage.

• It usually demands Bitcoin payment, as this kind of currency is difficult to track down by cybersecurity or law enforcement agencies.

• It can shuffle all the files in a computer, a trick used to confuse victims and oblige them to make payment.

• It sets strict deadline for the payment. This feature puts psychological pressure on the victims as going beyond the time-limit means that the data will be destroyed, or the ransom will skyrocket.

• It's geographically targeted. The ransom note is often translated


How Cyberwatching.eu can help you

The role of Cyberwatching.eu is to contribute to make the Online & Digital market a safer place. Through Cyberwatching.eu you can access valuable documents to gain a firmer grasp of the legal framework involved and improved understanding of the conflicts of interpretation. Finally, anyone that is the victim of a cyber-attack can rely on the guidance of ICT Legal.


Pilots for the European Cybersecurity Competence Networks: how can your SME benefit? - Cyberwatching.eu 6th Webinar -

The four pilot projects involved in the development of the European Cybersecurity Competence Network will present their plans and upcoming tools and services for SMEs in the Cyberwatching.eu webinar on the 2nd of April, 10:00 AM CEST



Future Events

Cyber Insurance and its Contribution to Cyber Risk Mitigation - Leiden March 25-29
25/03/2019 to 29/03/2019

The rise in both the scale and severity of recent cyberattacks demands new thinking about cybersecurity risk and the mitigation and transfer of that risk. Cyber insurance is one potential way to manage risk by transferring damage liability, but the cyber insurance market is immature and the understanding and actuarial knowledge of cyber-risk is currently underdeveloped.

e-SIDES workshop 2019

e-SIDES workshop: Towards Value-Centric Big Data: Connect People, Processes and Technology


2 April 2019

10am to 4pm


e-SIDES is a research project funded by European Commission H2020 Programme that deals with the ethical, legal, social and economic implications of privacy-preserving technologies in different big data context.