The Dutch
Security Cluster
The Dutch
Security Cluster

Open Source Data Diode

Initiative by:
Ministry of Defence and HSD Office
In progress

The aim of the Open Source Data Diode (OSDD) innovation programme is to increase cyber security in the Netherlands by making available a low end, low cost, open source data diode to public and private parties in the Netherlands.


Data diode

A data diode is a device (hardware & software) that -because of its physical properties- makes data transfer possible in only one direction. Thus, data diodes can protect networks and systems against external cyber threats. 


Low-End, Low-Cost
The currently available data diodes are aimed at the highly classified domain, where a high degree of information security applies. As a result of that they are relatively complex and expensive. Low-end, low-cost data diodes, are intended for use in the lower classified segment, such as:

- Data streams from and towards the internet
- Medical sector (operating rooms, privacy)
- Smart City en semi-critical infrastructure
- Internet of Things (connected devices and home care)
- Linking of legacy systems (logistics, administration)
- Robotized industry, Industrial Control Systems

Open Source
To make data diodes accessible to everybody in the Netherlands, the low-end data diode will be available in open source. Design and source code can be used freely.


Cyber security in the Netherlands
The availability of a low-end, low-cost, open source data diode will lower the threshold for large-scale application of data diodes. This brings data diodes within the reach of (lower) governments, the business community (i.a. SMEs) and ultimately even households and private individuals.


To make this possible, the price of data diodes must be significantly reduced, the devices must be miniaturized and responsible use must be made easy.  Low-end, low-cost data diodes can thus make an important contribution to strengthening domains in which currently few digital security barriers are used. The combination of low-end, low-cost data diodes with existing technologies such as firewalls and airgaps, will substantially increase cyber security in the Netherlands.


Results Mid-2019

To achieve this, HSD Office -as a first step- has researched the potential of open source data diodes during a round table meeting with relevant public and private stakeholders. Also, a study into the possibilities of (open source) data diodes for cyber security was conducted by The Hague Center for Strategic Studies. In both cases the potential of an OSDD was confirmed. Commissioned by the Ministry of Defense, subsequently Technolution from Gouda started developing a demonstrator for the OSDD.


Next Steps
As soon as the OSDD demonstrator is available, the 'Nationaal Bureau voor Verbindingsbeveiligingen' (NBV/ Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations) performs a quick scan of the operation and security. A number of relevant parties will also test the OSDD demonstrator in practice to verify the usability for different domains. Parallel to the construction of the demonstrator, open source management is set up for a future operational OSDD.


Call for Use Cases
In anticipation of the availability of the OSDD demonstrator, HSD Office is looking for specific use cases to test the demonstrator. If you have a relevant use case in mind for your organisation or working domain, please contact


HSD Office
The Dutch security cluster HSD is supported by HSD Office. As an independent organisation, HSD Office stimulates and facilitates collaboration and knowledge sharing between governments, businesses and knowledge institutions in the field of security. Together we set up innovation programmes, such as the Open Source Data Diode process, using the HSD Collaboration Model for Security Innovations (ENG/NL).


HSD Office conducts the following process steps for the OSDD:
- Pre-competitive consultation and demand specification
- Realisation of OSDD demonstrator and design of open source ecosystem
- Evaluation of the OSDD demonstrator
- Operationalisation and transfer to the open source community


Read the information in Dutch.


Join the HSD Cafe on 4 July and read the interview with Marcel Smits of innovation centre FRONT and


Read the HSD Data Diode report 'Understanding the Strategic and Technical Significance of Technology for Security'.