Switzerland’s Security 2015

Photo by Aleksandra Boguslawska on Unsplash.com
On 4. May 2015, Switzerland’s intelligence service published its annual report on the security situation of the country.

Strategic landscape

The report notes a state of flux in the strategic landscape, driven by (a) a long-term clash of interests between Russia and the West as seen in the destabilization of Ukraine, with the potential for a renewal of a protracted East-West conflict throughout Europe and (b) the domestic insecurities in the Maghreb / Sahel and Iraq/Syria that led to large, uncontrolled territories.

Illegal intelligence and attacks on information infrastructure

Of special interest to this blog is the chapter on “illegal intelligence and attacks on information infrastructure.” Switzerland has chosen to focus on targets, methods, impact of Snowden revelations, and APTs. Regarding targets:

“In Switzerland, illegal intelligence is targeted both at Switzerland’s economic and security interests and at the interests of third parties […].
In addition, intelligence activities also target individuals resident in Switzerland who are opponents of the rulers of various countries; this applies mainly to (former) citizens of states in which the democratic decision-making process is restricted and freedom of expression is not guaranteed.”

On the impact of Snowden, of special note is the following quote:

“The penetration of communications is deep, systematic and virtually comprehensive, depending on the resources that are used: providers are forced by law to disclose data, covert access has been obtained to the main lines of communication, encryption codes have also systematically been broken or weakened, and even international encryption standards have been affected.”

The report then also summarizes several APT campaigns. Of special interest is that it does not attribute any campaign to an actor-type, except Operation Dragonfly (aka Energetic Bear / Crouching Tiger), which it speculates to be designed by “a state-financed group of criminals.” Finally, the report expects the vulnerability of IT to persist in the future, and expects the shaken confidence in ICT companies to stay low, leading to a competitive shift in the international market.

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