Intelligent and networked devices and applications are now an indispensable part of our professional and private lives. The drawback to this is that cybercrime has become an extremely lucrative business. In future, we can only successfully defend against this if local security competence centres such as SWITCH-CERT work closely together with a high degree of trust, both nationally and internationally.
There is one issue on which users, companies and cybercriminals agree: increasing digitalisation offers unforeseen opportunities. In addition to all the benefits of limitless access to information, we are also experiencing the unwanted consequences to an ever greater extent. Low-quality hardware and software leads to an increasing stream of vulnerabilities that are difficult or impossible to remedy. Sophisticated, targeted and regionally focused attacks culminate in vast amounts of stolen data and billions in losses for those affected.
Meanwhile, the estimated damage caused by cybercriminals in the Western world has outstripped that of crime in the physical world. The more added value is shifted to the internet, the more lucrative their criminal business model becomes. In addition, the attackers enjoy great advantages over their victims and law enforcement in the virtual world:
If you analyse the challenges in IT security, you inevitably come to the conclusion that the key to sustainable success lies in inter-institutional collaboration. No IT department in the world will ever be able to go it alone against the risks of cyberspace. In addition to the implementation of preventative measures, which has long been practised, reactive skills such as the detection of attacks, incident response and the associated acquisition of relevant threat intelligence are becoming increasingly important. There are two basic requirements for well-coordinated national and international collaboration: personal trust and close relationships. These can't be bought: they have to be built up and maintained over many years. A CERT is thus not only a committed team in itself; the various CERTs and professional organisations worldwide work together in the same way.
With over 20 years of systematic work and active participation in international organisations such as TF-CSIRT, FIRST, CENTR and GÉANT, SWITCH-CERT has built a unique international contact network for Switzerland with a high degree of trust, one which creates huge added value for all customer groups. Together with national competence centres such as MELANI and fedpol, we continually optimise this collaboration and accelerate information flows. We have thereby succeeded in utilising Switzerland’s limited resources to their fullest extent, true to our conviction that close national and international collaboration with a high degree of trust is an essential prerequisite for successfully combating cybercrime.
SWITCH-CERT is part of a worldwide knowledge and alert exchange network. Relationships with international CERT communities have been systematically built and deepened over the course of 20 years. This global relationship network cannot be readily copied. The same is true for collaborations on a national level in the interests of national IT security.
For many years, SWITCH-CERT has been using its security expertise and experience in the management and moderation of trusted communities for the benefit of the university community, internet users and the Swiss economy, with considerable success. Collaboration with SWITCH-CERT opens up a high-calibre network of relationships for its customers, providing invaluable services in the fight against cybercrime.