One in seven have been a victim of cyber attacks

About one million people in Switzerland have already been affected by an attack via the Internet. These are the findings of a study conducted by the social research institute gfs-zurich at the beginning of 2019. These attacks resulted in financial damage, needed time and expense to put them right or had a stressful emotional impact. Nonetheless, more than half of those affected believe they are sufficiently well informed to be able to protect themselves against such attacks. This conflicting view, at odds with the reality of the damage caused, shows just how important comprehensive awareness-raising activities are. The National Strategy for the Protection of Switzerland Against Cyber Risks (NCS) 2018-2022 is a key pillar in this endeavour. – Joint study by ICTswitzerland, SWITCH, ISSS, SATW, SISA, swissICT and FITSU – MELANI.

Pubblicato il 28.03.2019

From 25 January to 15 February 2019, the market and social research institute gfs-zürich asked one thousand adults in German-speaking and western Switzerland about online security. The scientifically generated sample allows the results to be applied to the entire adult population of German-speaking and western Switzerland (6.7 million people). The survey was conducted on behalf of the umbrella organisation ICTswitzerland, the Information Security Society Switzerland (ISSS), the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW), the Swiss Internet Security Alliance (SISA), swissICT and SWITCH, in association with the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI).

Overview of the most important findings

  • 92% of the respondents owned at least one device that was connected to the Internet. Aside from computers and smartphones, 45% of those polled said that their television also had an Internet connection.
  • 15% of respondents had already been the victim of an online attack.
  • More than half of the participants thought they were well informed about how to protect themselves against attacks from the Internet.
  • Even those people who say they know little about cybersecurity feel safe about using the Internet.
  • 50% of Internet users make use of the same password either more than once or everywhere.

These results confirm the necessity and importance of comprehensive awareness-raising measures, and strengthen the resolve of the survey’s initiators to ensure that the Internet is safe in Switzerland.


Daniel Nussbaumer heads the Cybercrime Department of the Zurich Cantonal Police Force and is President of the Swiss Internet Security Alliance (SISA). He thus plays a key role in protecting against cyber risks.

“The experience of law enforcement authorities with regard to cybercrime show that repression alone is not enough to combat it,” he says. “We need innovative concepts for preventive measures.”

Pascal Lamia, Director of the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI), stresses the importance of nationwide collaboration:

“Cybersecurity is an issue that must be tackled jointly by the public administration, the private sector and politicians. To this end, it is important to inform the general public about cyber risks and raise awareness about them. This is the task envisaged by the implementation plan of the National Strategy for the Protection of Switzerland Against Cyber Risks (NCS) and it is being promoted by all the relevant players.”

Katja Dörlemann, awareness specialist at SWITCH, already has concrete, easy-to-implement solutions for the Swiss population:

“Strong passwords are the basis for a responsible behaviour on the Internet. An individual password should be used for each online account. Password managers offer the best support in generating and managing strong passwords.”
For more information, go to

ICTswitzerland CEO Andreas Kaelin wants suppliers to enforce security updates for devices and software:

“Regular automatic security updates reduce the cyber risk for individual users. For security reasons, devices connected to the Internet that are not supported with updates, such as household appliances, printers and smartphones, should either be disconnected from the Internet or taken out of service.”

Survey results

Download the complete survey Security on the Internet

For more information, contact

Andreas Kaelin, CEO of ICTswitzerland
Tel. +41 31 311 6246 │

Roland Eugster, SWITCH Media Spokesman
Tel. +41 44 253 9873 │


ICTswitzerland is the umbrella organisation of the Swiss ICT industry. Founded in 1980, the organisation brings together 30 large and medium-sized enterprises, as well as 21 associations. ICTswitzerland represents its members’ interests towards the general public, the authorities and other organisations, and aims to promote and develop digital technologies and the education and further training of ICT specialists. ICTswitzerland is also committed to the detection of and defence against cyber risks. In Switzerland, some 200,000 ICT specialists are employed across all economic sectors and in public administration (2017). With a gross value of CHF 29.7 billion in 2015, the ICT core sector is Switzerland’s seventh-largest industry.


SWITCH is committed to improved performance, convenience and security in the digital world. In collaboration with its stakeholders in and outside the academic world, the foundation develops and improves integrated ICT solutions in the areas of network, security, identity management and cloud computing. SWITCH has been the registry for .ch and .li domain names since the early days of the internet. In 2017, the foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary. The foundation employs about a hundred people at its headquarters in Zurich.

The Information Security Society Switzerland (ISSS)

The Information Security Society Switzerland (ISSS) is an active, independent association that networks more than 1100 security professionals in Switzerland, including more than 150 companies. The association addresses theoretical and practical technical and legal security-related aspects of the information society.

The Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)

The Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) is the most important network of technology-related experts in Switzerland and maintains contact with the highest scientific, political and industrial bodies in Switzerland. The network comprises selected individual members, member organisations and experts. The SATW operates on behalf of the Swiss Federal Government to identify relevant technological developments and informs politicians and the general public about their significance and consequences. As a specialist organisation with high credibility, it conveys independent, objective and comprehensive information about technology to act as the basis for well-founded opinion-forming. It is politically independent and non-commercial.

Swiss Internet Security Alliance (SISA)

The Swiss Internet Security Alliance has set itself the goal of making Switzerland the world's safety Internet country.
It operates the awareness-raising platform, offers online tools for checking for virus infection on PCs and enables its members to exchange information about current online threats. Within the SISA, Swiss companies in various sectors work together with representatives of the public authorities, associations, federations and universities.


swissICT is the primary representative of ICT in Switzerland and the industry’s largest trade association. swissICT’s members include more than 2500 ICT companies, user companies and individuals. The organisation promotes the exchange of information, bundles demand, publicises key surveys on salaries, formulates ICT job profiles and is the co-organiser of the most important computing prize, the Digital Economy Award. swissICT supports the certification initiative 3L Informatik, which aims to ensure lifelong computing skills at the workplace.

The Federal IT Steering Unit (FITSU) – MELANI

The Federal IT Steering Unit (FITSU) ensures that the strategy on information and communication technology (ICT) is implemented within the federal administration. To this end, it issues directives for the various administrative units and manages standard ICT services. The FITSU is also heads the E-Government Switzerland office as well as the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI), and coordinates the implementation of the National Strategy for the Protection of Switzerland against Cyber Risks (NCS).