Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group has said it had to shut down some of its IT systems to effectively respond to a cyber attack that occurred during the weekend.
The Swiss company, which owns a number of world-renowned watch brands such as Omega, Longines, Tissot, Rado, Swatch, Breguet, and Calvin Klein among others, said the precautionary shutdown affected some operations but said the situation will return to normal as soon as possible.
"The Swatch Group confirms that it has identified clear signs of a cyber attack under development on some of its IT systems over the weekend. For security reasons, the Group immediately acted and shut down some of its IT systems as a precaution, which affected some operations.
"Swatch Group immediately assessed and analyzed the nature of the attack, took appropriate measures, and implemented the necessary corrections. The situation will return to normal as soon as possible. The Group will, of course, file a criminal complaint against X," it said in a statement shared with several media agencies.
Considering that Swatch Group enjoys annual sales in excess of £7 billion each year and owns a large number of globally-reputed watch and jewelry brands, it is not surprising that hackers have targeted the company's systems to gain access to internal records and payment card details of wealthy customers.
Malware attacks can result in various consequences such as loss of intellectual property, loss of customer records, frequent shutdowns, reputational loss, and even regulatory fines, and therefore, having lax cyber security practices is no longer an option, especially for multi-national giants whose reputations are sacred.
According to Dean Ferrando, lead systems engineer (EMEA) at Tripwire, companies like Swatch Group have a responsibility to prevent malware infections and they can do so by patching vulnerabilities, ensuring systems are configured securely, and preventing phishing.
"And for when these preventive foundational controls fail, there needs to be a continuous monitoring tool in place to detect the signs of a compromise. While information on this particular incident involving Swatch Group is still limited, it is certainly encouraging to see that the security systems they have in place were effective at spotting the sign of a compromise and that action was taken swiftly to limit the impact of the attack," he added.