Hackers attack Swiss consumer protection agency

Around one in seven Swiss say they have been hacked at some time or another. Keystone / Sascha Steinbach

Hackers successfully attacked the website of the Swiss Consumer Protection Foundation last month, placing links to fake stores within the agency’s online shopping pages.

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The hack was detected within two hours and the malicious links were removed, said the foundation, which regularly warns consumers about online fraud. The agency said it was unlikely that the hackers were trying to steal customer data but could not yet rule out the theft of people’s names, home and e-mail addresses or passwords.

However, the foundation told the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA that it was certain that no "unauthorized access to payment information" had taken place. No credit card or payment data were stored in the database affected by the hacker attack, the agency added.

The foundation’s online shop mainly sells advice pamphlets for consumers, but also retails items such as stickers and webcams.

While the cyber attack may not prove to be any more serious than an embarrassment for the consumer protection foundation, it does highlight the growing danger of hackers in Switzerland.

A report earlier this year estimated that one in seven Swiss, or a million citizens, had been the victim of hackers at some time or other.

A survey of online retailers in Switzerland in October last year revealed that some 92% of digital shops had experienced fraud at least once during that previous 12 months. The Swiss financial regulator has also said more must be done to protect banks from cyber-attacks.

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