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Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik - this page is a stub

Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, abbreviated BSI, is the German Federal Office for Information Security, in charge of managing computer and communication security of the German Government, located in Bonn (Germany) [1]. It was established in 1991, as successor to Zentralstelle für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (ZSI), which was in turn the successor to the Zentralstelle für das Chiffrierwesen (ZfCh), the German cryptographic authority that resorted under Department IV of the german intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).

The BSI is responsible for security of computer applications, critical infrastructure protection, internet security, cryptography, counter eavesdropping, certification of security products and the accreditation of test laboratories [1]. Unlike its predecessors, that were part of the German federal intelligence service OG or BND, the BSI is an independent governmental body.  History

The history of the BSI dates back to 1947 when, shortly after WWII, cryptologist Erich Hüttenhain – the former chief of cryptanalytical research of the Wehrmacht – assembled a group of military cryptologists at the US Army base near Oberursel (Hesse, Germany). This expert group, informally known as Society of Scientific Work, subsequently became part of the signals intelligence unit of Organisation Gehlen (OG) – the post war intelligence agency – and concentrated on Eastern Block military transmissions [2]. It was located in Mehlem (Bonn, Germany) and headed by Hüttenhain.

In 1956, when Organisation Gehlen (OG) was succeeded by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the Society of Scientific Work was renamed Zentralstelle für das Chiffrierwesen (ZfCh) and became an independent body under BND Directorate II. Hüttenhain remained head of the ZfCH until his retirement in 1970. He was succeeded by Wilhelm Göing who, after his untimely death in November 1972, was replaced by Otto Leiberich. In the spring of 1973, ZfCh came under control of Department IV of the German intelligence agency — the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) — the same department that handled for the joint BND/CIA secret Operation RUBICON.

In 1986 – still under control of BNDZfCh formed an internal task force that concentrated on the fast developing computer and information technology, which in 1989 became known as Zentral­stelle für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (ZSI) — the Central Office for Information Security. In 1991, ZSI became the independent Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informations­technik (BSI) — the German Federal Office for Information Security — and is no longer under BND control.

Operation RUBICON
Erich Hüttenhain, and from 1970 his successor Wilhelm Göing, were largely responsible for Operation THESAURUS (later: RUBICON) — the secret purchase of the Swiss crypto-manufacturer Crypto AG, by the German BND and the American CIA. They are regarded as the architects.

Göing unexpectedly died in November 1972 and was succeeded by Otto Leiberich [4]. But as Leiberich was less of a 'heavy weight' than Göing and Hüttenhain, it was decided – in the spring of 1973 – to place ZfCh under Department IV of the BND, which was also responsible for Operation RUBICON. It provided CIA with a single point of contact for matters related to the operation [3].

In 1991, ZfCh (later: ZSI) became the independent BSI, after which the BSI became responsible for cryptographic matters related to Operation RUBICON. This situation lasted until 1994, when, after a series of incidents and conflicts of interest, the BND decided to leave the operation.

 More about Operation RUBICON

  1. Wikipedia, Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik
    Retrieved December 2019.  English version
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