Hackers recently breached the Swiss Federal Railways and Swiss People's Party (SVP) websites, exposing how vulnerable the portals were to online attacks. Both organisations have confirmed that their websites were compromised and over 50,000 email addresses were stolen from the country's largest political party's web portal.
Several private Swiss companies were also attacked by hackers, and the country's IT and telephone systems were crippled, according to a Swissinfo report. The nation's largest supermarket chain retailers Migros and Coop were also targeted by hackers. The identity of the perpetrators behind the cyber attacks still remains unclear.
However, a group called the NSHC claimed responsibility for the cyber attack on the SVP and railways websites, which the former said was designed to expose prevalent security vulnerabilities within the country's technical infrastructure. According to a Tech Week Europe report, the group has been identified as a "grey hat" organisation, which claims to have no malicious intentions behind the cyberattacks.
Meanwhile, the SVP's deputy general secretary Silvia Bar told Swissinfo: "We are currently looking into what exactly happened and which data could have been affected."
And spokesperson for the federal railway, Daniele Pallechi said: "The Swiss Federal Railways website was hard to access on Monday afternoon for about an hour and in the evening for around one and a half hours due to a DDoS attack." Although the online train timetable was affected due to the security breach, Pallechi stressed that the safety systems for train traffic was not compromised by hackers. He added that the e-shop was unaffected by the hack.
Coincidentally, a separate cyberattack was confirmed by the Swiss government's Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance, known as Melani. The organisation confirmed on 18 March that 6,000 email accounts had been hacked. "There is the risk that these accounts with hacked passwords could be used for illegal ends (fraud, blackmail and phishing)," Melani said. However, the organisation maintains that the incident has no link to the hacking of the federal railways and the SVP.