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Report: Swiss Spy Agency Warns Of Huge Data Leak from Insider

According to a report from Reuters, sensitive information on counter-terrorism shared by several foreign governments was potentially compromised by a massive data theft at a Swiss intelligence agency.

The data heist, according to what European national security sources told Reuters, was by an unnamed IT technician for the NDB, a Swiss intelligence agency.

The incident was said to have occurred last summer, resulting in the technician being arrested after he was acting suspiciously. Sources familiar with the case told the news service that the technician was later was released from prison while a criminal investigation by the office of Switzerland's Federal Attorney General was conducted.

“Swiss news reports and the sources close to the investigation said that investigators believe the technician downloaded terrabytes, running into hundreds of thousands or even millions of printed pages, of classified material from the Swiss intelligence service's servers onto portable hard drives,” Reuters’ Mark Hosenball reported. “He then carried them out of government buildings in a backpack.”

Intelligence services like the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) often shared data on counter-terrorism and other issues with the NDB, a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters. Because of this, Swiss authorities have reportedly informed U.S. and British agencies about the incident.

On the positive side, Reuters' sources said that Swiss authorities believe that the suspect was arrested before he had an opportunity to sell the data which was found by authorities on portable storage devices.

Reuters, citing Swiss news reports, said the NDB was unaware of the incident until UBS warned authorities about a suspicious attempt to set up a new bank account that was traced to the NDB technician.

The full story from Reuters with additional background and details is here.

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.