"Imagine the SBB portal being paralysed for a day"

Switzerland faced a wave of cyberattacks this week, causing disruption to various government websites, city portals, and key platforms like the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), Geneva Airport, and Switzerland Tourism.

Nicolas Mayencourt, cybersecurity specialist and CEO of Dreamlab Technologies provided insights regarding the recent incidents in an interview with Tagesanzeiger.

Mayencourt discussed the increasing threats and the interconnected nature of these attacks. He emphasised the importance of taking preventive measures and drew attention to similar attacks that occurred in other countries during significant events:

“In the past months there were similar attacks in many countries, always exactly when Volodimir Selensky held a speech in the respective country, as now in Switzerland, or when a state, for example, decided to supply weapons to Ukraine. This could be observed in Finland, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Israel. The connection is clear. It was certainly clear to the Swiss authorities that we were exposing ourselves with the speech.”


Although Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks may appear technically trivial, they can have devastating consequences, potentially triggering chaos and disrupting vital services:

“At first, it may not sound very dramatic that a website is unavailable. But in the case of large, important websites, it can trigger a national catastrophe. Imagine, for example, that the SBB's online portal is paralysed for a day by a prolonged attack. That could lead to huge chaos and even a collapse of public transport.”


He also raised concerns about the emergence of numerous anonymous Twitter accounts spreading fake news, suggesting the possibility of a larger disinformation campaign.

Mayencourt emphasised that cyber risks are often underestimated, citing global statistics on cybercrime damages:

“In general, cyber risks have been greatly underestimated. By way of comparison, according to global insurance statistics, cybercrime causes over $5 trillion in damage worldwide each year. That is around 50 times more than the damage caused by natural events.”


When asked about the security of critical institutions like nuclear power plants, Mayencourt cautioned against relying solely on isolation from the internet, citing the recent Mühleberg attack:

“The Mühleberg nuclear power plant, which has since been shut down, was also controlled remotely through a VPN connection. VPN connections are a type of digital tunnel that run over the Internet, and it does not provide robust protection against attackers”.


Read the full article (German only): https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/stellen-sie-sich-vor-dass-das-sbb-portal-einen-tag-lang-lahmgelegt-wird-243381880410

"Imagine the SBB portal being paralysed for a day"

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