War in europe – cyber alarm for the swiss economy?

The war in Ukraine is also taking on unusual dimensions on the web. Cyber attacks on governments and important infrastructures are the order of the day. There is talk of a cyber war. But this also puts Switzerland at risk as an important international trading center? And do SMEs also have to worry?


We put these and other questions from our SME community to Russia expert and former SRF Moscow correspondent Peter Gysling and Dreamlab Technologies cybersecurity specialists Nick Mayencourt and Mischa Obrecht. The result is a highly topical input event, the first online event from GRYPS. We summarize:

Brief assessment of the situation: What does the war mean for the Swiss economy??

That Putin was very serious was already apparent months ago, judges Peter Gysling. But we have not prepared ourselves, the possibility of war seemed too unreal. The situation is now getting worse every day. The USA warns against the use of chemical and biological weapons. Russia, meanwhile, is already using the dreaded cluster bombs. Putin is all about victory. He needs to be able to justify the use and loss of his soldiers, and he wants to prevent the free spirit of Ukrainians and their will for democracy from spreading to Russia. The fact that he recognized the Budapest Memorandum in 2008 and thus accepted Ukraine's territorial and political sovereignty no longer counts. Therefore, even diplomatic talks will hardly yield a solution, Putin's word cannot be relied upon.

A reorientation is called for
Switzerland must reorient itself, because our special political paths are hardly sustainable anymore. But companies also have a responsibility – and are under pressure to act. Foreign companies that have ceased operations in Russia for the time being face nationalization if they do not resume operations soon. But banks, finance and logistics are also facing new problems. Symbolic-emotional as well as practical-rational decisions have to be made. Preparations need to be made, not least in terms of cybersecurity.

The Swiss economy as a target in the cyber war?

When it comes to economic innovation and growth, Switzerland consistently ranks high in global rankings. This, of course, makes our companies attractive to cybercriminals – especially when you consider that we only rank 42nd in cybersecurity according to the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI).

There is a threat of "cybergeddon
Cybercrime is estimated to be the second biggest risk to global stability after global warming. Our ever-increasing dependence on data, software and networks increases the threat of cybercrime and makes us vulnerable at all levels, as a nation, as an organization and privately. If we don't learn to take proactive security measures, a "cybergeddon" looms: spied-out research data that kills our innovation, blackouts that cost billions of dollars, or attacks on healthcare that gamble with people's lives would be some of the possible consequences of this.

The most important dos and don'ts for protecting corporate IT

It is often the small things and careless actions that open the door to cybercriminals. These 10 cyber commandments are among the basics you should definitely implement:

  1. Keep devices current and always update immediately
  2. Use strong passwords and NEVER share them (even by email or on the phone)
  3. Use multifactor authentication (SMS, authenticator app, …)
  4. Do not reuse passwords for multiple purposes: one password per service
  5. Use separate work devices for personal and business matters
  6. Make regular backups, keep multiple backups offline
  7. Do not install apps from unofficial sources
  8. No unknown sticks, cables etc. connect with devices
  9. No unnecessary applications on work devices
  10. Have an emergency plan – printed, on paper!

Need help with implementation in your SME?

Where to find independent information on Cybersecurity?

In addition to the website from Switzerland's National Center for Cybersecurity, the NCSC, Dreamlab experts recommend these qualified journalistic sources:

  • GovCERT (Computer Emergency Response Team)
  • Security portal from heise.en
  • KrebsOnSecurity
  • Schneier on Security
  • Dreamlab Research Blog

How to protect your SME from cybercrime?