Bern Ups Cyber Defenses

Switzerland is ramping up its cyberdefenses, including by hiring new specialists. The move represents a massive expansion of preventive measures in the last 18 months.

The Swiss government approved the creation of 20 new jobs as part of a two-year cyber defense strategy, it said in a statement on Thursday. The government defined cyber risk as a major threat in 2017, which was underlined by a crypto scandal earlier this year.

«This ordinance and the 20 new posts in the area of cyber-risks will enable the federal council to meet the demands of businesses and political circles for a robust competence center with a clear structure and greater centralization,» the government said. It established a national security center last year under Florian Schuetz, previously head of technology risk and security at German online retailer Zalando.

Swiss Data Haven

The 20 new jobs, planned to cover the tasks to help protect against cyber-risks, come on top of two dozen new jobs approved last year. In Switzerland, where banking secrecy has been undermined by several major whistleblowing leaks including that of Herve Falciani at HSBC’s Swiss private bank, there are few industry-wide initiatives. 

Swiss banks and insurers, which also increasingly have cybersecurity and insuring against hacks on their minds, have poured millions into beefing up their defenses against risk from inside – whistleblowers – or outside, in the form of a cyberattack. 

Because of its tradition of secrecy and privacy, Switzerland is fertile ground for cyber protection services: Payments service Swift reportedly houses its servers in Switzerland near the German border, and countless cybersecurity specialists have settled in the alpine nation.

 

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