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Cyber attacks

People’s Party and federal railways hacked

The Swiss People’s Party – Switzerland’s largest political party – and the Swiss Federal Railways have both confirmed that they have been the target of hackers.

“The Swiss Federal Railways website was hard to access on Monday afternoon for about an hour and in the evening for around one and a half hours due to a DDoS attack,” federal railways spokesman Daniele Pallecchi told the Swiss news agency on Friday.

A DDoS (distributed denial of service) is a type of attack on computer systems with the deliberate aim of making them unavailable.

The online train timetable became slow as a result of the hack. But at no time did the hackers affect the safety system for rail traffic, stressed Pallecchi. The federal railways online shop was also not affected, he added, referring to reported DDoS attacks in recent days on other Swiss online shops.

People’s Party affected

The conservative right Swiss People’s Party – recently in the headlines for its failed attempt at the ballot box to enforce a hardline proposal to deport foreign criminals – has also confirmed that it was the victim of a hack.

“On Wednesday we were made aware that there was an attack,” said party deputy general secretary Silvia Bär. “We are currently looking into what exactly happened and which data could have been affected.” She gave no further information.

According to Christoph Hugenschmidt, editor-in-chief of the IT portal inside-it, a previously unknown group called NSHC has claimed responsibility for the federal railways attack and those on several Swiss online shops. He said that the group did not want money but were trying to raise awareness of internet security. The group also targeted the People’s Party, gaining access to emails and mailing lists, he told the Swiss News Agency.

Government warning

In a separate development, the government’s Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance, known as MELANI, said that passwords from 6,000 email accounts had been hacked in Switzerland.

“There is the risk that these accounts with hacked passwords could be used for illegal ends (fraud, blackmail and phishing),” MELANI said in its newsletter published on Friday.

MELANI has received the data and is asking people and companies to check whether their email addresses have been hacked though a tool available at https://www.checktool.ch.

A MELANI spokesperson told Swiss Public Television SRF that there was no link between this development, the hacked People’s Party website and DDoS attacks on online shops

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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