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THE ART OF INFORMATION HIDING
M.chaitanya III C.S.E (email@example.com) Jyothi engineering college Patancheru
J.kiran kumar III C.S.E (firstname.lastname@example.org) Jyothi engineering college Patancheru
Steganography is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one apart from the intended recipient knows of the existence of the message; The main purpose of steganography is to hide the occurrence of communication. While most methods in use today are invisible to the observer's senses. steganography (also known as "steg" or "stego") is "the art of writing in cipher, or in characters, which are not intelligible except to persons who have the key; cryptography" . In computer terms, steganography has evolved into the practice of hiding a message within a larger one in such a way that others cannot discern the presence or contents of the hidden message. In contemporary terms, steganography has evolved into a digital strategy of hiding a file in some form of multimedia, such as an image, an audio file (like a .wav or mp3) or even a video file..For instance, a message may be hidden by using invisible ink between the visible lines of innocuous documents. There are an infinite number of steganography applications. This paper explores a tiny fraction of the art of steganography. It goes well beyond simply embedding text in an image. Steganography does not only pertain to digital images but also to other media (files such as voice, other text and binaries; other media such as communication channels). The main purpose of this paper is to highlight the features of Steganography:
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To explore steganography in a wider area The techniques used in steganography To show how steganography works To explain the main advantages in steganogarphy
Unfortunately, anyone who cares to find your hidden image probably has a trained eye. The intensity values in the original cover image were white noise, i.e. random. The new values are strongly patterned, because they represent significant information of the secret image. This is the sort of change which is easily detectable by statistics. So the final trick to good steganography is make the message look random before hiding it.
This may seem to be an ordinary beginning to an ordinary article. There's a secret message hidden here, in this very paragraph. It's not in view, and its source is modern. But the art of hiding messages is an ancient one, known as steganography Steganography is the dark cousin of cryptography, the use of codes. While cryptography provides privacy, steganography is intended to provide secrecy. Privacy is what you need when you use your credit card on the Internet -- you don't want your number revealed to the public. For this, you use cryptography, and send a coded pile of gibberish that only the web site can decipher. Though your code may be unbreakable, any hacker can look and see you've sent a message. For true secrecy, you don't want anyone to know you're sending a message at all. The advantage of steganography over cryptography alone is that messages do not attract attention to themselves, to messengers, or to recipients. An unhidden coded message, no matter how unbreakable it is, will arouse suspicion and may in itself be incriminating, as in some countries encryption is illegal Early steganography was messy. Before phones, before mail, before horses, messages were sent on foot. If you wanted to hide a message, you had two choices: have the messenger memorize it, or hide it on the messenger. In fact, the Chinese wrote messages on silk and encased them in balls of wax. The wax ball, "la wan," could then be hidden in the messenger
The word "Steganography" is of Greek origin and means "covered, or hidden writing". Its ancient origins can be traced back to 440 BC. Herodotus mentions two examples of Steganography in The Histories of Herodotus . Demeratus sent a warning about a forthcoming attack to Greece by writing it on a wooden panel and covering it in wax. Wax tablets were in common use then as reusable writing surface, sometimes used for shorthand. Another ancient example is that of Histiaeus, who shaved the head of his most trusted slave and tattooed a message on it. After his hair had grown the message was hidden. The purpose was to instigate a revolt against the Persians.
WHAT IS STEGANOGRAPHY?
Steganography is the art of hiding information in ways that prevent its detection. Computer-based steganographic techniques introduce changes to digital covers to embed information foreign to the native covers. Such information may be communicated in the form of text, binary files, or provide additional information about the cover and its owner such as digitalwatermarks or fingerprints. This paper explains steganography, provides a brief history, describes how steganography is applied in hiding information in images, and surveys a few steganography software applications for processing images Techniques for hiding information have existed for centuries. Methods include communication via invisible inks, microdots, covert channels, and spread spectrum channels. The techniques explored by the authors involved embedding information within digital media, specifically digital images. The authors analyze the limitations of these digital methods, which can in turn be used to devise attacks. The goal of these attacks is to expose the existence of a secret message or to render a digital watermark unusable. Finally, in assessing these attacks, countermeasures are developed to assist in protecting digital watermarking systems. Understanding the limitations of these methods will allow the construction of more robust methods that can better survive manipulations and attackson.
What is Steganography Used for?
Like many security tools, steganography can be used for a variety of reasons, some good, some not so good. Legitimate purposes can include things like watermarking images for reasons such as copyright protection. Digital watermarks (also known as fingerprinting, significant especially in copyrighting material) are similar to steganography in that they are overlaid in files, which appear to be part of the original file and are thus not easily detectable by the average person. Unfortunately, steganography can also be used for illegitimate reasons. For instance, if someone was trying to steal data, they could conceal it in another file or files and send it out in an innocent looking email or file transfer. Furthermore, a person with a hobby of saving pornography, or worse, to their hard drive, may choose to hide the evidence through the use of steganography. And, as was pointed out in the concern for terroristic purposes, it can be used as a means of covert communication. Of course, this can be both a legitimate and an illegitimate application.
Steganography and Security :
As mentioned previously, steganography is an effective means of hiding data, thereby protecting the data from unauthorized or unwanted viewing. But stego is simply one of many ways to protect the confidentiality of data. It is probably best used in conjunction with another data-hiding method. When used in combination, these methods can all be a part of a layered security approach. Some good complementary methods include. • Encryption is the process of passing data or plaintext through a series of mathematical operations that generate an alternate form of the original data known as ciphertext. The encrypted data can only be read by parties who have been given the necessary key to decrypt the ciphertext back into its original plaintext form. Encryption doesn't hide data, but it does make it hard to read! Hidden directories (Windows) - Windows offers this feature, which allows users to hide files. Using this feature is as easy as changing the properties of a directory to "hidden", and hoping that no one displays all types of files in their explorer. Hiding directories (Unix) - in existing directories that have a lot of files, such as in the /dev directory on a Unix implementation, or making a directory that starts with three dots (...) versus the normal single or double dot. Covert channels - Some tools can be used to transmit valuable data in seemingly normal network traffic. One such tool is Loki. Loki is a tool that hides data in ICMP traffic (like ping).
The below picture shows the depiction of steganography:
Here's a sample. The bear above is an adorable glow-in-the-dark skeleton costumed bear. The bear below is the same photo, now containing a hidden secret picture. To see the secret photo, get yourself a copy of S-Tools by Andy Brown and decrypt using the secret password "strange."
THE KEY INNOVATIVE BEHIND STEGANOGRAPHY:
The key innovation in recent years was to choose an innocent looking cover that contains plenty of random information, called white noise. You can hear white noise as a the nearly silent hiss of a blank tape playing. The secret message replaces the white noise, and if done properly it will appear to be as random as the noise was. The most popular methods use digitized photographs, so let's explore these techniques in some depth. Digitized photographs and video also harbor plenty of white noise. A digitized photograph is stored as an array of colored dots, called pixels. Each pixel typically has three numbers associated with it, one each for red, green, and blue intensities, and these values often range from 0-255. Each number is stored as eight bits (zeros and ones), with a one worth 128 in the most significant bit (on the left), then 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, and a one in the least significant bit (on the right) worth just 1.
POSSIBLE USES OF STEGANOGRAPHY:
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Used to combine explanatory information with an image (like doctor's notes accompanying an X-ray) Embedding corrective audio or image data in case corrosion occurs from a poor connection or transmission Peer-to-peer private communications Posting secret communications on the Web to avoid transmission Copyright protection Maintaining anonymity Hiding data on the network in case of a breach
POSSIBLE DISADVANTAGES OF STEGANOGRAPHY:
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Could accidentally degrade or render an image misleading Could counteract and be counterproductive with the original image Doesn't hide the fact that an e-mail was sent, negating the purpose of secret communications Someone else with a steganography detection and cracking tool could expose the message A form of this already exists, called digital watermarking, but requires use of separate hardware tools because steganographic software can't use separate hardware tools. Steganographic software also can't protect the watermark. Easier to open free Web-based e-mail or use cloaked e-mail Better to understand and effectively use standardized encryption
Conclusion and Comments:
Steganography has its place in security. It is not intended to replace cryptography but supplement it. Hiding a message with steganography methods reduces the chance of a message being detected. However, if that message is also encrypted, if discovered, it must also be cracked (yet another layer of protection). There are an infinite number of steganography applications. This paper explores a tiny fraction of the art of steganography. It goes well beyond simply embedding text in an image. Steganography does not only pertain to digital images but also to other media (files such as voice, other text and binaries; other media such as communication channels, the list can go on and on). Consider the following example: A person has a cassette tape of Pink Floyd's "The Wall." The plans of a Top Secret project (e.g., device, aircraft, covert operation) are embedded, using some steganographic method, on that tape. Since the alterations of the "expected contents" cannot be detected, (especially by human ears and probably not easily so by digital means) these plans can cross borders and trade hands undetected. How do you detect which recording has the message? In and of itself, steganography is not a good solution to secrecy, but neither is simple substitution and short block permutation for encryption. But if these methods are combined, you have much stronger encryption routines (methods). For example (again over simplified): If a message is encrypted using substitution (substituting one alphabet with another), permute the message (shuffle the text) and apply a substitution again, then the encrypted ciphertext is more secure than using only substitution or only permutation. NOW, if the ciphertext is embedded in an [image, video, voice, etc.] it is even more secure. If an encrypted message is intercepted, the interceptor knows the text is an encrypted message. With steganography, the interceptor may not know the object contains a message.
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www.jjtc.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/steganography www.techrepublic.com www.zone-h.org
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