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RUAG breach

Defence firm says no sensitive data acquired in hack

Following news of a hack that had possibly revealed the identities of an elite Swiss army unit, the RUAG defence firm said no such sensitive information had been leaked.

Several newspapers reported last week that hackers from Russia had broken into RUAG’s database and gained access to information about a secret special forces unit of the Swiss army, established for risky operations in foreign countries. 

However, on Thursday, RUAG said such information is not stored on the company's computer servers and could not have been accessed by the hackers. The military contractor, which has close ties to the defence ministry, said it regrets the breach of its system and that the matter had been handled quickly and professionally. 

Earlier this week, Alex Kuprecht, the head of a parliamentary control committee, said that multiple gigabytes of data had been accessed in the hack. However, in its statement released on Thursday, RUAG said that only a very small fraction of its database had been hacked. 

The cyber attack was made public last week. Intelligence services say the breach began in December 2014, and they responded in January 2016 following a tip from abroad. 

In connection with the hack, the public prosecutor opened a criminal investigation against an unknown entity on suspicion of industrial espionage. The cabinet has also taken measures which were not disclosed for security reasons.

In a separate incident, the Defence Ministry's servers were attacked by hackers during the World Economic Forum in January. "We were able to deal with it and keep functioning," Defence Minister Guy Parmelin said of that attack. 

A previous edition of this article referred to the hack on RUAG as having been carried out during the World Economic Forum (WEF). A hacking incident did occur during WEF, but the defence ministry has clarified that it is separate from the RUAG attack.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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