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Defence minister ponders cyber-security

Swiss businesses and institutions are at risk from hacker attacks, Defence Minister Ueli Maurer has warned in an on-line magazine interview published on Saturday.

The danger was unlikely to come from individuals he told, but from organisations seeking specific information that they could use against Switzerland. Some states could also be involved.

He said Switzerland was one of the world leaders as far as protection against cyber-attacks is concerned because it had invested a lot of money in security in the past, but he admitted this was probably still not enough.

“We are doubtless too negligent, and the quality of security must be improved,” he said. “We have lots of loopholes, and some of them may be quite large.”

He picked out the energy, transport and water sectors as areas which require particular protection.

Switzerland is currently looking into what steps need to be taken to strengthen security. However, Maurer said he saw no reason in the current state of affairs to create a dedicated federal office to repulse cyber-attacks. But he suggested that a delegate for issues of cyber-security was a possibility.

He said between five and ten per cent of the defence budget went on repelling cyber-attacks. Nothing has been invested for some time, and new large-scale investments will soon be made.

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