Social Engineering - The Devil is in the Details



Who AM I?

Zurich, August 10 - 2017

Most of us know what Social Engineering is, having read for example Kevin Mitnick's books, or working for an information security company which regularly reminds the staff on how to avoid attacks. Unfortunately, some of us may have even learned what Social Engineering is after having been victims of Social Engineering techniques.

Ivano Somaini, on the contrary, made Social Engineering his profession but in a legally and ethically correct way. On August 10., in the premises of the Impact Hub in Zurich, Ivano gave us a short but exciting insight in his daily work. Ivano is Regional Manager Bern of Compass Security Schweiz AG, an IT security firm specialized among others in testing "devices, networks, services, and applications for vulnerabilities" (see; the penetration tests carried out by Ivano instead have the purpose to "test the behavior and processes"  of whole organizations. He uses Social Engineering techniques to attack companies by order of such companies, which want to test how vulnerable they are.

During a lively presentation (content can be retrieved from, Ivano gave us some theoretical background on Social Engineering, but even more interesting has been the description of real cases of penetration attacks he carried out. Ivano answered many questions from interested old and new Swissintell members; after the presentation, the discussion continued as he joined us for drinks (and tasty finger food, too!). A huge thank to Ivano Somaini and all participants for a successful event!

10 Years Swissintell - a review from our Anniversary Event in Berne

Berne, November 22-2016 #10YearsSwissintell

It has been a fantastic event with over 40 active members and new members attending our  #10YearsAnniveraryEvent in Berne on November 22.

Great Sessions from FSI, IBM and LexisNexis supported by our sponsors Comintelli, Inovis and LexisNexis. The feedback was overwhelming - we definitely want to follow up on this with you.

Please find below and attached additional information around the event, sponsors and speakers and a serie of pictures our members sent to us.


Inputs from the Federal Intelligence Service #FIS

Website FIS: (german) / (French) / (Italian) / English (documents, videos etc. can be found at the bottom of the page, however, the website in English only has a limited number of documents)

Link to the film on economic espionage:
“Im Visier”
“En Ligne de Mire”
“Nel mirino”
(German, French and Italian versions are also available under the tab “Videos” at the bottom of the NDB/SRC/SIC homepage) 

Detailed commentaries on the film and economic espionage (not available in English)
Erläuterungen zum Film „Im Visier“
Commentaires sur le court-métrage „En ligne de mire“
Spiegazioni del cortometraggio „Nel mirino“

Prophylax brochure (prevention and awareness programme regarding economic espionage and proliferation as well as security tips on the use of electronic devices while traveling abroad): German version / English version / French versionItalian version

Factsheet on what the FIS does against espionage (not available in English)
Was macht der NDB gegen Spionage?
Que fait le SRC pour lutter contre l‘espionnage ?
Cosa intraprende il SIC contro lo spionaggio?

Inputs from #IBM and Chris Liguori

Redefining Connections: Insights from the Global C-Suite Study The C-Perspective IBM Institute for Business Value Chris Liguori IBM Enterprise Business Unit Digital Transformation & Solutions / Industrial Sector

Presentation download


Inputs from #LexisNexis and Thomas Stoeckle, Segment Leader Global Media Intelligence

Presentation download & newest Blogpost (German) 

LinkedIn Group for the Small Data Forum

Blogpost Small Data


Learn how IBM Watson works and has similar thought processes to a human.
"Targeted" is part of the prevention and awareness programme Prophylax of the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS). The film seeks to raise awareness among Swiss companies and research institutes about the threats posed by espionage.

Protecting its information assets: supervision of the employee by the employer, what are it's limits?

#NovemberUpdate Fantastic news from ASVIE group who had a journalist from Le Bilan publishing an interesting article about the event and topic. We have uploaded the article for you to read - get it here and have fun!

Our #Swissintell Group ASVIE - L’Association suisse en veille stratégique et intelligence économique - held an incredibly successful event last week in Geneva. 

Topic: Protecting its information assets and supervision of its employees: what legal framework? What practices? (french version & summary here)

Presenters Sylvain Métille, a lawyer specializing in questions of data protection, and Lennig Pedron, Director Human Resources and Communications in cybersecurity, shared insights on "Protection of heritage informational: monitoring of employees by employers, what are it's limits? "

Our Presenters had a lively discussion moderated by Stéphane Koch.

Once again a huge thank you to our presenters, moderator and members who made this event a true success.

We had over 30 professionals attending this event at La Mère Royaume in the center of Geneva. More to come for sure!

Scenario Planning, Risk Mitigation, Primary Research Event

Systematic approach to scenario planning, involving primary research and case building for key management decisions.

On 7-June provided Dr. Baljit Singh, Managing Director & Partner of Life Sciences at INOVIS AG (and former Director of Global Integrated Insights at Novartis Pharma AG) along with Mika Partanen, Director of Global Competitive Intelligence at Bayer Pharma AG, provided an overview of a new, unique and first-in-class web-based scenario planning tool – ProACT – which helps mitigate risk, leverage opportunities and optimize strategies.

Under the motto 'Reap the Many Benefits of ProACTive Scenario Planning - Mitigate Risk, Leverage Opportunities & Optimize Strategy' we learned how only very small percentage of individuals and companies effectively take the time and effort to plan for the future. Yet, those that do plan accomplish five to ten times more than do the others.

And how this is done was impressively demonstrated in these 5 steps:

  1. Systematically approach scenario planning

  2. Leverage and apply fundamental tools utilized during the scenario planning process

  3. Prepare your organization for external threats and internal issues

  4. Identify opportunities and align YOUR organization for the challenges ahead

  5. Prioritize activities, focus areas and initiatives

Also, ProACT was introduced to the audience which sparked intense interest and discussions:

  • ProACT is a web-based strategic tool that enables systematic and objective scenario development and action planning

  • Optimize Corporate, Portfolio and Product Life Cycle tactics and strategies at Global, Regional and Country levels

  • Align base case assumptions and alternate scenarios across functional teams for Integrated Action Plans (IAPs)

  • Align different views of risk and its potential consequences workshop at the Marketing Capitals Conference (MCC) at University of St. Gallen

Connecting the dots is true marketing innovation: How state-of-the-art competitive intelligence beats the competition.

The Marketing Capitals Conference (MCC) is the result of a collaboration between the marketing clubs of two top European business schools: Bocconi University and the University of St.Gallen. The 2016 edition's theme was Marketing and Innovation and was invited to lead a workshop and to participate in a panel discussion about the future of digital marketing.


This marks the beginning of our new strategic Academia initiative which is designed to collaborate with and support students that are at their very early career stages. Stay tuned at our website and social media channels for reports on future events and activities.

Here is what we discussed and shared with the students during or workshop:

Business decisions are taken all the time. Big and small. Complex and less so. But there is no decision maker out there who knows and understands all competitive and market aspects inside out and takes swift decisions all by themselves.
Did you ever wonder how key decision makers are supported; how they get it right, early and fast? is the Swiss Association for Market Research, Competitive Intelligence and Strategic Planning (SMCS) that represents and supports professionals engaged in competitive intelligence activities, market research and analysis and strategic planning in Switzerland - the very professionals whose deliverables enable sound decision making at various organizational levels.
During the workshop, will lift the lid on several career path options in Competitive Intelligence (CI), Market Analysis, Strategic Planing and related professions.

And so we did.


Our president Jens Thieme introduced the background and benefits of a professional association and in particular, before he dove into the inner workings of B2B marketing activities centering around various elements of business insights.

Marc Limacher, Founder & Managing Director of INOVIS and our Association and Digital Sponsor focused on primary research and its bottom line impact.

Murat Can Anadol, student member of presented his personal journey as a student and young professional and how the association supported his early career moves and successes.

Download the presentation and engage with all three presenters during and beyond our events.

The MCC team published some Instagram pictures and a little clip from the workshop.

Customer Intelligence Networking Event

“Customers buy Differentiated Value” by Phil Allen, thought leader and influencer in Customer Value Management. 

  • Do you REALLY understand your customers and know what they need and value?
  • Discover how to achieve bottom line impact with sustainable differentiation.
  • Make your offerings incomparable with the competition!

Phil Allen, thought leader in Customer Value Management, enables B2B clients to achieve & improve sustainable, profitable growth also in commoditized markets.


The event included a lively fireside chat about customer intelligence which was facilitated by our president Jens Thieme

Invitation to speak at Zürich represents and supports professionals engaged in competitive intelligence activities, market research and analysis and strategic planning in Switzerland.

Founded in 2006, we organize a quarterly network meeting around a relevant/hot topic plus a “fireside chat”. Typically starting at 18:00 and running for 3 - 4 hours at Au Premier (meeting and restaurant venue in Zürich HB).

For our 2016 evening events in Zürich on 20-Sep and 29-Nov we invite speakers on these topics to come forward now:

- Strategic planning and decision support by competitive and market intelligence
- Intelligence tools, data models and information systems
- Insights deliverables, content and production advice
- Process, collaboration and impact by and from market analysts, competitive intelligence and strategy planning managers

Our members and guests value practical and conceptual presentations from practitioners or solution providers, especially when they present actual cases along with their clients.

Your benefit:

- Exposure to peers, practitioners and potential clients from a wide range of industry and service sectors.
- Networking opportunity among the English and German speaking business community around the Zürich region.
- Learning and sharing of current best practice.

If you would like to speak at one of these events, please contact us.
For June, please contact us as soon as possible within these next weeks.