Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and France SIGINT Alliance

This paper describes a SIGINT and code-breaking alliance between Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and France called Maximator:

Abstract: This article is first to report on the secret European five-partner sigint alliance Maximator that started in the late 1970s. It discloses the name Maximator and provides documentary evidence. The five members of this European alliance are Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and France. The cooperation involves both signals analysis and crypto analysis. The Maximator alliance has remained secret for almost fifty years, in contrast to its Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes counterpart. The existence of this European sigint alliance gives a novel perspective on western sigint collaborations in the late twentieth century. The article explains and illustrates, with relatively much attention for the cryptographic details, how the five Maximator participants strengthened their effectiveness via the information about rigged cryptographic devices that its German partner provided, via the joint U.S.-German ownership and control of the Swiss producer Crypto AG of cryptographic devices.

Posted on May 4, 2020 at 6:42 AM7 Comments


John Doe May 4, 2020 6:49 AM

The site has a captcha, which means it cannot be viewed via Tor, since Google always blocks Tor.

I think it is fitting when you publish juicy security info that people can get to it via Tor 😉

Sci-Hub May 4, 2020 7:37 AM

The site has a captcha, which means it cannot be viewed via Tor

You can access the article over Tor by pasting the link into Sci-Hub. (I didn’t add a link because I didn’t want to fall foul of a spam filter. Search for it on Wikipedia or $SEARCH_ENGINE )

vas pup May 4, 2020 5:42 PM

“The Maximator alliance has remained secret for almost fifty years, in contrast to its Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes counterpart.”

I doubt – I guess for one of 5 eyes – GB it was not secret, but other 4 eyes were kept in dark. And Dutch were probably the weakest link. They never forget that GB saved their Queen during WW2 occupation, and Germans took all their bikes – it is like somebody took all guns from Americans – that is part of their blood. I don’t have hard evidence on that – just educated guess.

Common Wealth May 6, 2020 6:51 PM

There’s also another less known spying alliance including all Commonwealth countries used to bypass laws banning spying on one’s countries citizens by proxy spying on a reciprocal basis.

Tor User May 12, 2020 1:15 PM

Bruce, as a heads up for your other hat over at Tor Project, I’ve been seeing this behavior for at least a month if not longer on Tor circuits. Including guard nodes exclusively coalescing onto de, fr, se, nl nodes, both with defaults as well as altering the guard node count above default to see if the guard node list was more randomized. It’s not.

There also appears to be connection resets and manipulation of the circuits for favorable hop groupings. So far I have see all de, all fr, or a mix with de, fr, se, nl, dk, and sometimes ch, hu, pl, and ro. Using the NodeFamily option can reduce it somewhat via country codes, but trying to comprehensively group nodes, exclude obviously bad nodes, etc. has become an exercise in futility.

I’m not sure what the current node count is, although I think I saw somewhere that either relay nodes or exit nodes only number around 2000, which seems to put Tor squarely in the crosshairs of nation state actor alliances for active surveillance techniques against the network, for surveillance or disruption purposes.

Leave a comment


Allowed HTML <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre> Markdown Extra syntax via

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.