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April 02, 2020

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Second Swiss Cyber Security Days: a platform against cyber threats

Second Swiss Cyber Security Days: a platform against cyber threats

The second Swiss Cyber Security Days were held in Fribourg in February of this year. They provide a platform for stakeholders from the world of business, politics, the armed forces, the administration, research and education in the fight against cybercrime. CEO Béat Kunz is pleased with the outcome of this year’s event.

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Béat Kunz, CEO Swiss Cyber Security Days
The Swiss Cyber Security Days (SCSD) were held for the second time in 2020. Why does Switzerland need the SCSD?

We live in a world that is rapidly becoming more and more interconnected. One of the biggest challenges that this presents us with is getting a handle on the negative aspects of this digitalised world. To address this challenge, it’s important to create awareness of the fact that the security of these systems is the personal responsibility of every individual. Our goal is to make the Swiss Cyber Security Days a leading national authority on cybersecurity and to bring together, via a comprehensive platform, stakeholders from the world of business, politics, the armed forces, the administration, research and education for a technical and societal assessment of the current situation. In short, you could say that the Swiss Cyber Security Days are Switzerland's most important event and platform in this field and that they make an important contribution to a safer Switzerland and a safer world.

How do you feel about the event? Did it meet your expectations?

With 2,600 visitors, 120 exhibitors and over 50 media representatives, our goals and expectations were more than met. During the conference segment, we held valuable, high-level discussions on societally relevant topics relating to cybersecurity and offered cybersecurity companies an innovative exhibition and presentation platform. On the first day, Mister Cyber and the Chief of the Armed Forces, representing Switzerland’s official institutions, informed attendees about the nation’s cybersecurity system. Discussions were also held about Smartrail 4.0’s forward-looking vision and reports from organisations that have been targeted, such as hospitals that have been hacked and the luxury brand IWC, as well as the potential for attacks in Switzerland highlighted by Dreamlab. On the second day, the focus was on more global topics such as cyber wars, cybercrime and other international threats. We worked on this with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, the inter-cantonal cybercrime organisation NEDIK and the World Economic Forum’s Centre for Cybersecurity, which we are especially proud of. On both days, international leaders in cybersecurity research presented their solutions at the Tech Tracks.

What did you change this year from last year and what would you possibly want to do differently in 2021?

We developed an innovative exhibition concept with the aim of making cybersecurity something that can be experienced. Our Presenting Partner SIX created such a world and the DDPS, the armed forces, Armasuisse and NEDIK (network for investigation support in digital crime) gave an impressive presentation on cyber defence. In addition, thanks to our collaboration with the universities, we were able to present students with a broad national educational offering. In collaboration with Innosuisse, we also created an innovation pavilion that provided a platform for cybersecurity start-ups. Around 40 partner companies presented their best practice solutions on two different stages. This was primarily aimed at SMEs. We will continue to do everything we can in 2021 to explain cybersecurity and contribute to making the world safer through informed and fact-based decisions.

Is Switzerland better protected now against cyber attacks thanks to the SCSD?

With our two events to date we have at the very least made a strong contribution to the fact that people are talking about cybersecurity and that the often abstract topic is discussed in more concrete terms. We want to do everything we can to help ensure that Switzerland is and remains better protected, and we still have a lot of catching up to do compared with other countries.

Cyber threats don’t stop at the Swiss border. How did you take the international dimension of the issue into account?

During the conference segment on the second day, we had the opportunity to discuss the international dimension of cybersecurity with renowned experts from Switzerland and abroad. In addition to cyber war and cyber crime, both of which know no borders, another area of focus was the effects of attacks on global companies and corresponding solutions. There was an impressive discussion on this topic during a panel featuring Alois Zwinggi from the World Economic Forum’s Centre for Cybersecurity, Sir Rob Wainwright, Senior Partner at Deloitte NL and the former director of Europol, Andy Powell, CISO at MAERSK, Monique Morrow, President Humanized Internet as well as SCSD President and National Councillor Doris Fiala. By the way, the fact that cyber threats know no borders is also underscored by the strong interest shown in the SCSD by foreign embassies from the East and the West.

Can banks and bank employees benefit from attending the event?

The Swiss Cyber Security Days is the right place for anyone who wants to gain an understanding of cybersecurity and cyber defence. As mentioned, the security of these systems is the personal responsibility of every individual. The more people adapt their behaviour accordingly, the greater the contribution to security and all stakeholders, including the banks, benefit from this.

What is your personal relationship with cybersecurity? Have you ever been hacked – or have you ever been a hacker?

The rapidly increasing number of reports about companies and organisations that have been hacked is a clear indication that this is a topic that cannot be ignored. The “risk of infection” is enormous, because a supplier, the administration or your neighbour may already have been hacked and thus puts your own security at risk. Cybersecurity is a must for everyone and a fundamental prerequisite for a functioning digitalised and interconnected society.