Our Dutch defence and security organisations, including the national police and the NCTV, are jointly responsible for our national security – including in the digital domain. In addition to the sea, land, air and space, cyberspace is the fifth working area of the armed forces.

Digitalisation, however, is changing our world rapidly. Virtually all vital processes and systems in the Netherlands are partly or fully digitalised. Nowadays, everything is connected, making it increasingly difficult to maintain an overview and control. This complexity leaves us vulnerable.

Attacks or disruptions must have as little impact as possible on our defence and security organisations. This is why it is essential for the Netherlands to keep its digital resilience (also known as cyber-resilience) at the highest level. Only then can we effectively deal with digital attacks and disruptions. TNO scientists utilise this knowledge on a daily basis when working on an active package of measures aimed at prevention, detection, response and recovery.

Our defence and security organisations have their own state-of-the-art resources in order to also guarantee the security of the Netherlands within the digital domain. These resources and insights must remain state-of-the-art in the future as well, which is only possible if we continue to innovate. TNO is working hard to achieve this. We are committed to a society that can effectively deal with digital threats in order to continue making use of digital opportunities. This is why we – together with our partners – are working on the innovation of cybersecurity solutions for our security organisations, both now and in the future.

Within TNO, more than 120 experts are actively involved in multidisciplinary cybersecurity research. This is unique and makes us the independent expertise centre for applicable knowledge on cybersecurity for the government and the business community.

We are currently working on applicable technologies to make criminal entities on the dark web traceable.

Combating cybercrime

TNO works closely with police forces in the Netherlands and abroad to detect and combat cybercrime. With a close-knit, multidisciplinary team of computer scientists and social scientists, we create visible impact with our methods and solutions for detecting and combating cybercrime. Cybercriminals make use of a variety of techniques. We identify these so-called attributes at TNO and support law enforcement agencies in their intervention efforts regarding cybercriminal operations. We then measure the effects and make analyses in order to gain good insights into the effectiveness of both the attributes and the interventions. We are currently working on applicable technologies to detect the use of phishing kits and to track criminal entities on the dark web, and we are now using AI to increase both efficiency and effectiveness.

A professional cyber workforce

The demand for cybersecurity personnel is high and the shortage will only increase in the coming years. TNO provides a multidisciplinary approach to addressing the challenges of qualitative and quantitative shortages of cyber-professionals. Together with partners from the ‘golden triangle’ – governmental institutions, educational institutions and companies – TNO is developing a portfolio of innovations to meet this shared challenge.

Human behaviour plays an essential role in an organisation’s cyber-resilience.

The stimulation of ‘secure behaviour’ amongst employees is one of the pillars within this integrated approach. After all, human behaviour plays an essential role in an organisation’s cyber-resilience as the vast majority of all cyber-incidents are due to human actions. TNO is therefore developing and optimising strategies to steer behaviour in the direction of security. In addition, TNO has developed the Cyber Cube model, for example, which enables organisations to quickly identify the areas in which people need further training.

This is one of the examples in which TNO helps security organisations to properly integrate the implications of ever-increasing digitalisation and to prepare their employees for this.

Digital resilience of weapon systems

In the twenty-first century, physical armour is no longer sufficient when it comes to sustaining military operations. In order to protect ICT systems in or around our weapon systems against cyberthreats, an ultra-modern digital armour is also needed. TNO is thus working hard on specific applications of cybersecurity risk management, security architecture, monitoring and detection and the automation of cybersecurity measures. The aim is ultimately sustained deployment of military weapon systems in a digitally contested environment.
To this end, we are utilising our multidisciplinary mix of expertise, such as knowledge on the military domain, cybersecurity technology, behavioural sciences and the electromagnetic spectrum.

TNO is working on multidisciplinary solutions

Knowledge development and innovation in the field of cybersecurity are desperately needed in order to stay ahead of cybercriminals and to be able to deal with new digital threats. This involves multidisciplinary research across the entire knowledge chain, looking at both long-term and short-term solutions. We always do this together. TNO and its partners develop innovative solutions in the fields of cybercrime, military cyberoperations, cybersecurity and cyber-resilience. We contribute, for example, to the National Cyber Security Agenda (NCSA), the Nederlandse Digitaliseringsstrategie (NDS) (Dutch Digitalisation Strategy), de Defensie Cyber Strategie (DCS) (Defence Cyber Strategy) and the National Cyber Security Research Agenda III (NCSRA III) (Dutch Cyber Security Research Agenda III). Our experts support organisations and their people so that they can continue to guarantee our security in the digital domain, both today and in the future.


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Patrick de Graaf LL.M.

  • Cyber Operations
  • Hybrid Strategies