Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik
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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) .
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 .
Unlike its predecessors, that were part of the German federal intelligence
service OG or BND, the BSI is an independent governmental body.
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 .
It was located in Mehlem (Bonn, Germany) and headed by
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.
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
In 1986 – still under control of BND – ZfCh
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.
and from 1970 his successor Wilhelm Göing, were largely responsible for
— the secret purchase of the Swiss crypto-manufacturer
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 .
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 .
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
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 20 December 2019. Last changed: Saturday, 29 April 2023 - 08:11 CET.