A number of Swiss companies have recently suffered their biggest ever coordinated cyber attacks, which paralysed IT and telephone systems.(SRF/swissinfo.ch)
Some of the worst affected websites belong to the Swiss Federal Railways and the country’s largest supermarket chains, Migros and Coop. The NZZ am Sonntag newspaper reported that there were also attempts by the hackers to blackmail the targeted companies.
These are thought to have been so-called denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which occur when multiple systems flood the bandwidth of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers.
Such an attack is often the result of a botnet. This is a network with software specifically designed to disrupt or damage computer systems.
Switzerland is particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks because of its high-tech infrastructure and financial services sector.
A report published in 2015 by the professional service company, KPMG, stated that Swiss companies suffered losses of over CHF200 million ($206 million) due to cyber crime in 2014.
Hacking doesn’t only affect large scale commerce. Recently, the emails of 6000 Swiss small companies and private individuals were also hi-jacked.