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More cyberwarriors needed, says Swiss defence minister

Guy Parmelin
Security   A disjointed strategy

Switzerland remains under-resourced in the fight to repel the almost “daily” cyberattacks targeting government and business, according to Defence Minister Guy Parmelin.

The state must compete harder to recruit the best specialists, he said.

A year-and-a-half after the RUAG case – when Russian hackers infiltrated the databases of the Swiss state-owned defence contractor – resources for dealing with cyberattacks remain a work in progress, Parmelin told the Tages-Anzeiger and Der Bund newspapers.

Currently, there are about 50 positions in the defence ministry working on cyberdefence; “not enough” for Parmelin. He wants to triple the figure by 2020.

In addition, the army, criticised earlier this year for a “disjointed strategy” in dealing with cyberattacks, now aims to train 50 specialists each year, many of whom he hopes will then remain working in state roles.

However, competition with big (and high-paying) firms such as Google remains a problem. “Every year, ETH Zurich trains around 250 IT specialists,” he said. But “200 of them go directly to Google”.


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