Independent Competence Platform
for Integrated Security in Switzerland.

by: Thomas Koch - PwC

Cybercrime – here to stay

Cyber threat and Switzerland

It is generally accepted that today’s ever-increasing dependency on technology has made the corporate landscape more complex and brought the threat of cybercrime progressively closer to our doorstep. Cybercrime was highlighted in our previous survey in 2011. As there are no borders in cyberspace, this allows fraudsters to use communication pathways created by the government and Internet service providers (ISPs) to exploit national infrastructure, our local businesses, and government entities. To date, there have been no disastrous cyber-attacks on Switzerland; however, our experience shows that cyber threats have reached our networks and thereby illustrate a basic truth: the precariousness of operating in a compromised digital environment.

Attacks on Swiss networks are not likely to peak in 2014 but instead will continue to evolve and increase in the years ahead – not because of any specific threat group or persistent vulnerability, but because of the unique Swiss corporate landscape mentioned earlier. Invading Swiss networks and stealing from Swiss financial institutions or corporations online is far less risky than committing the crime in person.

Although the risks in cyberspace can be managed, unfortunately they cannot be eliminated. Over the past 24 months, Swiss companies have started to understand that the goal is to mitigate rather than attempt to eliminate the damage and disruption that threats can do to the business. The Swiss findings of our current survey show an increase of awareness with regard to cyber risks. However, Switzerland still lags other major industrialised nations in addressing the risks cyber attacks pose to their companies.

Cybercrime – The costs we know of and those we don’t
The 2011 report was the first in our series to highlight cybercrime as a high-level threat to organisations. This year’s survey confirms the significant, continued impact of this crime on businesses, with one in four of all respondents that were affected by fraud, reporting they have experienced cybercrime as a type of economic crime in the past 24 months. On the other hand, the results also show that almost the same percentage of respondents (23%) are not actually aware of how much cybercrime has cost them during that time frame. In our estimation, this reflects the current state of awareness of cybercrime in Switzerland. As the degree of awareness increases in the coming years, the ability to quantify the financial impact will also increase.

In a sign that Swiss organisations are taking this threat more seriously, our survey indicates that the perception of cybercrime is increasing at a faster pace than that of reported actual occurrences. This year, 67% of our respondents said their perception of cybercrime risk increased in the survey period [Figure 11], in comparison to 52% in 2011.

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