When warnings from the Confederation are in vain

28.04.2022 - Time and again, targeted federal warnings about specific, acute cyberthreats unfortunately go unheeded. Consequently, companies as well as private individuals expose themselves to unnecessary dangers in cyberspace – often with devastating consequences, as shown by a recent case.

The NCSC regularly provides public information and alerts on current cyberthreats through its Twitter and LinkedIn channels and on the ncsc.ch website. However, most of the warnings concern specific companies rather than the general public. In such cases, the NCSC informs the company concerned directly via email, by telephone and often by registered letter as well. In many cases, vulnerabilities could be remedied in time and encryption and a data leak could be prevented.

Unfortunately, however, it happens time and again that these targeted warnings are not taken seriously enough or are ignored. This can often have serious consequences for the company concerned, as illustrated by the following example.

At the beginning of March 2022, the NCSC informed a company by registered mail that a Microsoft Exchange server accessible via the internet was affected by various vulnerabilities and that these were being used, among other things, as a gateway for encryption Trojans (ransomware).

In mid-April, the NCSC was additionally notified by a partner organisation that the company in question had been compromised in the meantime. The NCSC once again informed the company concerned, this time via email.

The company did not respond to either of the NCSC's attempts to contact it. Based on publicly available information on the dark web, the IT infrastructure of the company in question has now been encrypted by ransomware, and the perpetrators are demanding an unknown sum of money to decrypt the company's data. In addition, company data was presumably stolen and the company is also being blackmailed (double extortion).

This example is one of many. The NCSC would like to reiterate its recommendation to heed warnings from the authorities and to take appropriate countermeasures as quickly as possible. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of a warning or letter addressed to you, do not hesitate to ask the sender.

You can use the reporting form on the website in the event of a warning from the NCSC.

Last modification 28.04.2022

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