Surge in cyberattacks hits Switzerland ahead of Ukraine peace summit, authorities report

Switzerland ramps up security measures amidst a rise in cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns ahead of the Ukraine peace summit, pointing to potential Russian involvement.

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Switzerland is facing a significant rise in cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns ahead of this weekend’s summit, where representatives from 90 countries will convene to discuss the resolution of the Ukraine conflict. During a press briefing on Monday, Swiss President Viola Amherd mentioned the recent spike in cyber assaults but refrained from providing specific details. Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis underscored the evident intention to disrupt the impending peace negotiations.

While refraining from directly attributing the incidents to any particular nation, Swiss officials have hinted at Russia as a probable suspect, given its exclusion from the summit and vocal criticism of the event’s validity, based on President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace proposals.

The summit will take place near Lucerne and will draw participants from various regions, including Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. In anticipation of potential threats, the Swiss National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has urged local organisations to bolster their security measures. Emphasising the vulnerability of large-scale international events to cyberattacks, the NCSC plans to establish an emergency centre for technical analysis and communication support. Additionally, Swiss authorities plan to deploy nearly 4,000 military personnel to ensure event security, including air transportation and surveillance support.

Despite ongoing tensions, Switzerland has refrained from expelling Russian diplomats, a measure undertaken by other European nations and the US in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Swiss intelligence suggests that a significant portion of Russian diplomats may engage in intelligence activities.