Feeds

Boffins devise way to hide secret data on hard drives

Technique evades forensics investigations

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Computer scientists have developed software that hides sensitive data on hard drive, without the use of encryption, by controlling the precise disk locations containing the file's data fragments.

The application, which the academic researchers said they would release as open-source software, makes use of steganography, or the ancient art of hiding secret information in plain sight. The technique has long been employed to keep sensitive data out of the hands of adversaries. The use of encryption, by contrast, is easy to detect, tipping off adversaries that a hard drive or other piece of media contains information considered secret.

The software ensures that individual disk clusters that store the sensitive data fragments are positioned in a way predetermined by their code. A person who later wants to read the secret information uses the same application to reassemble the file. The inventors said their method makes it possible to stealthily store a 20-megabyte message on a 160-gigabyte portable hard drive.

“We have presented a novel data security mechanism, a filesystem-based covert channel which allows a user to evade disk forensics by securely hiding data in a removable or permanent mass storage device,” the researchers wrote in their paper, titled Designing a cluster-based covert channel to evade disk investigation and forensics. “Information is hidden in a manner such that an investigator is unable to positively prove the existence of hidden data.”

The researchers, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the National University of Science and Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan, said the technique may cause only small performance degradations. In some cases, the approach requires the data to be hidden through the use of a secret shared between the sender and recipient. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.