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Joint Sigint Cyber Unit - this page is a stub

The Joint Sigint Cyber Unit (JSCU) is a Dutch government organisation, founded in 2013 jointly by the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and the Military Intelligence and Security Agency (MIVD). Its main tasks are interception of radio and satellite traffic (SIGINT), cryptanalysis of intercepted encrypted data (codebreaking) and obtaining civil and military intelligence through cyber-operations. The JSCU works closely together with allied foreign intelligence services and works from its headquarters in Zoetermeer and from a location in Den Haag (The Hague) [1].

The activities of the JSCU were previously carried out by a number of individual organisations, each known by various names, all of which were merged into the JSCU 1 when it became oper­ational on 15 June 2014. Predecessors include: NSO, OVIC, SVIC, TIVC, WKC, MARID IV and GS IV. In particular the National Sigint Organisation (NSO) and the Strategic Signals Intelligence Centre (SVIC), were responsible for radio and satellite interception and codebreaking respectively.

 History of the SVIC

  1. Part of project Symbolon [11].

Years Name Description
1914 - 1940 GS IV General Staff, Section IV
1949 - 1975 MARID VI Naval Intelligence Service, Department 6
1975 - 1982 WKC Mathematics Centre
1982 - 1996 TIVC Technical Information Processing Centre
1996 - 2014 SVIC Strategic Signals Intelligence Centre
2003 - 2014 NSO National SIGINT Organisation 1
  1. Established in 2003 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks (2001) in the US, the NSO became fully operational in 2007.

Parent organisations
JSCU has several partnerships with foreign sister organisations, most of which are bilateral and should be considered secret. According to Gerhard Piper in [8], predecessor WKC/TIVC had a bilaterial partner­ship with Germany since 1967. In April 2020, Dutch Professor of computer security Dr. Bart Jacobs revealed that since 1978, TIVC had a secret partnership with Denmark, Sweden, Germany and France, under the name MAXIMATOR [5]. This is now widely regarded as the European equivalent of the UKUSA Fives Eyes alliance, and is active to this day (2022).

So far, the following partnerships are publicly known:

Intercept stations
For the interception of satellite traffic (SHF), 1 the most important source of information is the groundstation in Burum (Friesland, Netherlands), operated by telecom operator Stratos (formerly Xantic). This station is also known as the big ear, because of the large parabolic antennas. For the interception of high frequency (HF) 2 radio traffic, the organisation relies on its monitoring station in Eibergen (Gelderland, Netherlands) near the German border, were it operates a LOCATE system.

The intercept station in Eibergen — in the eastern part of the province of Gelderland, close to the German border — is used for collection of intelligence on the Short Wave (HF) radio bands. It is built around a so-called LOCATE system, that was supplied by British manufacturer Roke Manor Research. The system consists of 53 so-called Sarsen antennas, arranged in 4 concentric circles, plus a number of underground receivers [12]. By using digital correlation techniques and adaptive digital beam­forming (ADBF), it can be used for Super-Resolution Direction Finding (SRDF), as well as for (omni)directional reception of HF signals in the horizontal and vertical plane (3D).

Antenna array in Eibergen in July 2009 (Copyright Google) [15]

LOCATE was part of project ROOD, which is short for Radio Ontvangst Omni Directioneel (Omni-Directional Radio Reception). The project was lauched in 1997 and would be the first of its kind in the world [13]. At the time, radio interception was the responsibility of the Dutch National Sigint Organisation (NSO), which has since been merged into the Joint Sigint Cyber Unit (JSCU).

 More about LOCATE

  1. SHF = Super High Frequency (3-30 GHz)
  2. HF = High Frequency (3-30 MHz)  Wikipedia

The second HF monitoring station dates back to the days when radio interception was the task of the Dutch Navy (Department MARID VI). It is located in the centre of the country, just outside Eemnes, and consists of a building and several large antenna masts. In 2005 it was announced that this station was scheduled to be closed [14], but a Google Streetview image of 2020 reveals that it was still operational in 2020 [16]. Click the image for a closer look, or visit Google.

Antenna array in Eemnes in September 2020 (Copyright Google) [16]

  1. Wikipedia, Joint Sigint Cyber Unit
    Visited 23 February 2022.

  2. Wikipedia, Militaire Inlichtingendienst (Nederland)
    Retrieved April 2020.

  3. Nationaal Veiligheidsarchief /
    Buro Jansen & Janssen. Retrieved April 2020.

  4. Paul Huz, Afluisterpraktijken
    Homow-Universaliz, 13 June 2007.

  5. Prof. Dr. Bart Jacobs, Maximator
    European signal intelligence cooperation, from a Dutch perspective
    Intelligence and National Security, Taylor & Francis Online, 7 April 2020.

  6. Huub Jaspers, De afluistervrienden van Nederland
    VPRO Radio, Argos, 8 April 2020.

  7. Jaime Karremann, Waarom de Russen het Marineterrein in Amsterdam in de gaten hielden
    Website: 11 January 2018.

  8. Gerhard Piper, Abhörstaat Deutschland (Telepolis)...
    ISBN 978-3-95788-028-4 (epub). February 2015. Page 152.

  9. Bob de Graaff en Cees Wiebes, Villa Maarheze
    ISBN 978-901208-219-8. January 1999.

  10. Paul Reuvers and Marc Simons, Operation RUBICON
    Crypto Museum, 19 March 2020.

  11. Matthijs Koot, Project Symbolon completed: the Dutch Joint SIGNT Cyber Unit is born
    25 September 2003.

  12. Ingelicht, Nieuwe antenna in Eibergen komt in zicht
    Dutch MoD, October 2008 - Nr. 5, p. 11 (Dutch).

  13. Ingelicht, Informatieavond Eibergse NSO-buren
    Dutch MoD, October 2007 - Nr. 5, p. 10 (Dutch).

  14. Ingelicht, Historie verbindingsinlichtingen: de AVI vandaag
    Dutch MoD, March 2005 - Nr. 2, pp. 20-21.

  15. Google Streetview, Sarsen antenna arrays in Eibergen (Netherlands)
    Retrieved 20 February 2022.

  16. Google Streetview, Image of Volkerweg 1, Eemnes
    September 2020. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Wednesday 23 February 2022. Last changed: Monday, 04 April 2022 - 13:19 CET.
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