SwissBanking
The online magazine of the Swiss Bankers Association
June 26, 2019

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Swiss Cyber Security Days: a new platform that fights cyber risks

Swiss Cyber Security Days: a new platform that fights cyber risks

The Swiss Cyber Security Days is the first platform in Switzerland dedicated to the fight against cyber risks through collaboration between all relevant stakeholders from politics and business as well as decision-makers from the educational sector and research.

Beat Kunz 2.jpg
Béat Kunz, CEO Swiss Cyber Security Days
The Swiss Cyber Security Days (SCSD) were held for the first time in 2019. Why does Switzerland need the SCSD?

There are already enough product-based and technical cybersecurity events. To date, however, Switzerland was lacking a national platform for decision-makers in the areas of politics, business and education – a platform that provides information about the current challenges, and the possible solutions to these, presented in a generally accessible manner. In addition, cybersecurity is a topic that can only be addressed in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders. The SCSD fills this gap and is the national platform for politicians and decision makers, but also for educators and researchers.

What is your verdict with regards to the event? Did it meet your expectations?

Yes, we are very pleased. With over 2200 participants, of which 60 were accredited journalists, we clearly exceeded our targets. There are many things that we will improve in the future, but overall, the feedback we received was excellent. Our belief that Switzerland needs this kind of platform was confirmed. Politicians, decision-makers, educators and researchers were on board and supported us. We are also proud that we succeeded in bringing together Switzerland’s various linguistic and cultural regions.

Will there be another SCSD in 2020? What do you want to do differently in 2020?

Yes, the SCSD will be held again in 2020 and in the years that follow. I think we will be able to attract an even larger audience – although at a conference for the partners , I clearly stated that it’s is not about the numbers. Our primary objective is quality. Perhaps the most important difference at the SCSD 2020 will be the “experience worlds ”. 

Perhaps the most important difference at the SCSD 2020 will be the “experience worlds”.

ICT is very abstract. Our stated goal is to make cyber  something you can experience, and that is accessible and easy to understand so that informed and fact-based decisions are made that lead to a more secure world.

Is Switzerland now better protected against cyberattacks thanks to the SCSD?

That would be great, but I don’t believe that one initiative alone will make Switzerland more secure. However, the SCSD platform aims to make an important contribution to ensuring that Switzerland is and will remain better protected.

Cyber threats do not stop at the Swiss border. How do you take the international dimension of this issue into account?

I would not call it an international dimension: technically, nations and states play practically no effective role. I see it as a worldwide, or in other words, global dimension. This simplifies and clarifies the discussion. And in all honesty: unlike innovation and education, this dimension does not need to be specifically taken into consideration, because ICT is per se global. Or let’s put it the other way around: we are not focusing on highly-specific solutions tailored to local realities. Our focus is the wide world of ICT.

Perhaps an additional aspect to mention is that we are the national platform for cyber. Every national platform also has international relationships and we already had the pleasure of welcoming guests and speakers from around the world to our first SCSD event.

Can banks and bank employees benefit from attending an SCSD?

Banks absolutely. They themselves are in very good shape – but the weak link in the system is the end client. In other words: every time someone learns something about cybersecurity and adjusts their behaviour accordingly, the banks are among those who benefit.

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

This topic is timely and relevant for everyone. At the beginning of this year, the biggest e-mail/password leaks were published. An analysis showed that around 4 million Swiss e-mails were hacked in areas ranging from the administration and business to individuals.

An analysis showed that around 4 million Swiss e-mails were hacked in areas ranging from the administration and business to individuals.

With a population of 8.48 million citizens, this accounts for almost half of the total. This clearly demonstrates that even if you yourself are protected, this is not a matter you can avoid. A supplier, the administration or your neighbour could already have been hacked and therefore represent a risk to your own security. Cybersecurity is a must for everyone. With the ongoing digitalisation and increasing interconnectedness, security is a basic prerequisite for a functioning society.