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Hackers steal wages from Swiss universities

The University of Basel is one of the hacked institutions Keystone

Unidentified cybercriminals have managed to siphon off employee salary transfers from at least three Swiss universities, including the University of Basel.

“According to our information, several universities in Switzerland have been affected,” said Martina Weiss, Secretary General of the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities, confirming to the AFP news agency a report in the SonntagsZeitung.

The hackers used access data obtained through phishing, a technique designed to lure internet users into providing personal data.

According to the Basel public prosecutor’s office quoted by the SonntagsZeitung, the hackers infiltrated the universities’ system directly with the stolen personal data and changed the beneficiaries’ accounts for the payment of salaries.

The cybercriminals embezzled a six-figure amount, the office said. It added that part of the misappropriated funds was now in foreign accounts.

Umbrella organisation swissuniversities has sent a warning email to keep universities on their guard. The SonntagsZeitung reported that the University of Zurich, also targeted, had thwarted the attack because its employees had recognised the phishing attempts.

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SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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