Around 21,000 passwords and personal details used to access online services have been stolen and could be used illegally, Switzerland’s cybercrime monitoring centre has reported.
The Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI) said on Tuesday that a confidential source had sent copies of the stolen data to the cybercrime centre. It had no information on who sent the data or where it had originated, simply declaring that it was in the hands of “unauthorised third parties”.
The agency warned that stolen passwords and account details could be used for illegal activities such as fraud, blackmail or phishing.
MELANI has created a websiteexternal link to handle the breach and urges individuals and companies to check whether they are affected.
The agency urges anyone affected to change their password and create a new one for each online service, activate two-step authentication if possible, inform contacts of the hack and check bank details.
The number of cyber-attacks in Switzerland is reportedly on the rise and the problem is expected to get worse – both in terms of volume and complexity of the crimes being committed. Many people and companies are unprepared for the onslaught, experts say.
Last year, 14,033 cybercrime cases were reported to police in Switzerland, compared to 11,575 in 2015 and 5,330 in 2011. A survey from the firm KPMG released in June found that 88% of Swiss companies had experienced cyber-attacks in the past year compared to 54% in 2016.
This might be just the tip of the iceberg. Analysts believe that many victims fail to report cyber extortion, or ransomware attacks, out of fear that embarrassing material could be released or company credibility called into question.