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Swiss email accounts targeted by major scam

The Federal Police Office recommends users reset their passwords to limit damage by hackers Keystone

Tens of thousands of email addresses in Switzerland, including their passwords, have been stolen by unknown hackers in neighbouring Germany. The Swiss authorities recommend beefing up security and resetting passwords.

The government’s Cybercrime Coordination Unit says it was informed by German investigators that about 18 million email addresses, including 38,000 with the .ch country code domain, were hacked into to be targeted by spam mail.

The victims are then asked by the perpetrators to change their access data using a specially added link – a technique known as phishing.

Thomas Walther of the Federal Police Office says most major providers in Switzerland have been affected by the attack. However, many account holders are not aware that their mail addresses were stolen, he adds.

Walther says his office is informing all email account holders concerned to prevent further damage.

He called on internet users to set new passwords to all their email and online shop accounts and to update anti-virus software.

“There is no 100% guarantee. But you are relatively safe if the measures are taken,” he told the Newsnet online service.  

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR