Cyber security

The illegal use of digital technologies is a challenge of the 21st century. Cyberspace is increasingly being misused for criminal, power-political and intelligence-gathering purposes. Attacks via digital networks on infrastructure, such as power supply and telecommunications systems, can destabilise states. With the "National strategy for the protection of Switzerland against cyber risks", the country is taking action against threats emanating from the virtual domain.

These cyber risks include disturbances, manipulation, sabotage and specific attacks via electronic networks. These are the negative aspects of the information society.

National strategy for the protection of Switzerland against cyber risks

Ongoing digitalisation also presents new challenges for Swiss politics, business and society. On 27 June 2012, the Federal Council approved the "National strategy for the protection of Switzerland against cyber risks" (NCS). The strategy specifies the various risks that originate from cyberspace, identifies weaknesses and describes how Switzerland proceeds.

The strategy encompasses the following goals:

  • Early identification of threats and dangers
  • Improvement of the resilience of critical infrastructure
  • Reduction of cyber risks, especially cybercrime, cyber espionage and sabotage

The NCS contains 16 measures in the following seven fields of action:

  • Research and development
  • Risk and vulnerability analysis 
  • Analysis of the threat situation 
  • Competence building 
  • International relations and initiatives 
  • Continuity and crisis management 
  • Legal basis

Switzerland also cooperates with other countries to make cyberspace more secure.

National strategy for the protection of Switzerland against cyber risks

Implementation plan for the NCS

The Federal Council approved the NCS implementation plan on 15 May 2013. The plan spells out measures for the NCS and describes the intended outcomes in the fields of prevention, response, continuity and crisis management as well as supporting processes.

International cooperation is one of the means by which Switzerland represents its foreign policy interests in the area of cyber security. The country participates in various international processes and initiatives.

NCS implementation plan

National strategy for the protection of critical infrastructure

Attacks emanating from cyberspace can destabilise states. For example, critical infrastructure such as a country's power and water supply or its telecommunications systems might be paralysed via digital networks. In 2012, Switzerland drew up the national strategy for the protection of critical infrastructure, which also covers risks originating from cyberspace.

National strategy for the protection of critical infrastructure (fr)