Feeds

New steganography technique relies on letter shapes

Indian researchers say cunning scheme is secure, has good signal:noise ratio

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A trio of Indian researchers have proposed a method of steganography which hides messages in by using non-random distribution of letters with or without straight lines.

Steganography is a group of techniques for hiding messages in plain sight. Microdots, tiny text written inside a full stop and only legible when magnified, are one steganography technique. Steganography is hard to detect and decrypt, so much so that this paper from the US National Science and Technology Council (PDF) wrings its hands about it's potential use by terrorists.

The new method for steganography has been outlined by Shraddha Dulera and Devesh Jinwala, both from the Department of Computer Engineering at the S V National Institute of Technology in Surat, India, and Aroop Dasgupta of Gandhinagar ‘s Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics. The trio’s paper, Experimenting with the Novel Approaches in Text Steganography, suggests that the low signal-to-noise ratio required by many current steganography techniques makes for slow decipherment.

The trio’s alternative is a system based on the characteristics of letters in the Hindu-Arabic alphabet, which they group into those possessing straight lines and those possessing curved lines. Each group is assigned a value of either zero or one as the basis for a binary code.

One method for using this scheme is to “ … generate a random string that contains the single letters (from alphabet) as the cover text. Subsequently, whenever we want to hide a ‘0’ bit in the input text file, we use the letters from the group A amongst the letters generated; whereas whenever we wish to hide a ‘1’ bit, we use the letters from the group B amongst the letters generated.”

A second scheme sees curved or straight letters capitalised at the start of sentences, so that the sentence “All birds can fly. Ostrich is a bird. Ostrich can also fly” yields a binary value of 100.

The trio’s third scheme proposes to further divide the alphabet into letters with:

  • Curves;
  • A straight horizontal middle line;
  • One vertical straight line;
  • A diagonal line.

By doing so, it becomes possible to create a code in which capital letters can have a binary value of 0, 1, 10 or 11.

The trio assert that “Our analysis reveals that our approaches impart increased randomness and because of randomness, these approaches are noticeable but it cannot be decoded until a user is not aware about these approaches. In addition, the proposed approaches are also immune to retyping and reformatting of text.”

But they also warn that “… one of the weaknesses of the proposed approaches is that once their applicability is known, they can easily be attacked. Hence, it is essential to keep the application of a particular approach to a particular data set secret, while using them.”

Do you promise not to tell? ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.