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06 December 2012, 14:59

Frustrated employee embarrasses Swiss intelligence service

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A disgruntled IT worker at the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service (FIS, German: Nachrichtendienst des Bundes) has copied several terabytes of confidential data off the agency's servers with the intention of selling the information to representatives from other countries or to commercial buyers, according to a report in The Telegraph. It is currently unclear if the man, who has now been arrested by local authorities, was able to sell any of the information before being arrested. A spokesperson from FIS declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

The data leak was only noticed when the suspect tried to open a numbered bank account with UBS, Switzerland's largest bank. Apparently, the employee in question had previously exhibited conspicuous behaviour. The Telegraph reports that "the senior technician became so disgruntled earlier this year that he stopped showing up for work". The IT worker was described as "very talented" and had administrator rights that gave him unrestricted access to most of the FIS networks. He reportedly became frustrated with his job as his advice concerning the running of the data systems was being ignored.

Possibly as early as September, investigators raided the suspect's home and secured the information that was copied off the FIS servers. The suspect has been released from prison while the case is under further investigation by the office of Switzerland's Federal Attorney General. FIS is said to have contacted other intelligence services such as the CIA and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and warned them that their data was compromised.

FIS is a relatively young intelligence service that was founded in 2010 when the Dienst für Analyse und Prävention (DAP) was combined with the Strategischer Nachrichtendienst (SND) to form the new service. The suspect in this case has apparently worked for the Swiss security services for eight years.


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