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Branson Financial watchdog pushes for upgrade of cyber defence

Hacker in action

So far, Switzerland's financial sector has escaped major cyber attacks unscathed according to the watchdog unit.  

(Keystone)

The chief executive of the Swiss financial watchdog, Mark Branson, has called for the creation of a national cyber defence centre.

In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, Branson reiterated that Switzerland was lagging on safety standards behind other financial centres.

 Both the awareness and the risks of possible cyber attacks are high in Switzerland and the financial sector is becoming increasingly interconnected and therefore more vulnerable, according to CEO of FINMA.

He said it was important to act now and cooperate with the private sector, putting aside differences between various government ministries.

“We must not be lulled in false sense of security,” Branson is quoted as saying. “We must not be naïve.”

National interest

He added that cyber security is of national importance as terrorists or states might attack the IT infrastructure.

Last August, the government announced it reinforced critical infrastructure following several major cyber security attacks. Read more details here.

Over the past two years, the defence and the foreign ministries, the state-owned arms manufacturer, Ruag, as well as Swiss-based international sports organisations were hacked.

Branson said no Swiss bank has been hacked so far, but a health insurance had been attacked for client data.

In the wide-ranging interview, Branson also expressed concern over a housing bubble and low interest rates seen as a risk for banks and life insurance companies.

Theft, extortion, blackmail Cybercrime is skyrocketing in Switzerland

The number of cyber-attacks in Switzerland is on the rise and the problem is expected to get worse – both in terms of volume and complexity of the ...

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