Hiding Text in MP3 Files

Randy Marchany VA Tech Computing Center Blacksburg, VA 24060
Copyright 2003, Marchany

Steganography (literal meaning: covered writing) is one way to accomplish this. Marchany . Steganography is the art of passing information in a manner that the very existence of the message is unknown.Introduction    Hackers and Identity thieves are constantly coming up with ways to subvert computer & network defenses. Copyright 2003.

Copyright 2003. Weeks note that digital steganography is based on the fact that artifacts like bitmaps and audio files contain redundant information. Compression techniques like JPEG and MP3 eliminate part of the redundancy allowing the file to be compressed.Audio Steganography Basics   K. Marchany .

Audio Steganography Basics    With DigSteg. Copyright 2003. you replace some of the redundant information with other data. Loud sounds tend to mask out software sounds easily. Marchany . This gives us a clue on possible candidates for DigSteg masking. The Human Auditory System (HAS) operates over a wide dynamic range of frequencies but it’s fairly poor with respect to its differential range.

Can encode large amounts of hidden data in a given audio signal at the examples of introducing significant noise at the upper limits.Ways to Hide Data in Audio   Low-bit encoding replaces the LSB of information in each sampling point with a coded binary string. Copyright 2003. Marchany .

The phase of subsequent segments is adjusted in order to preserve the relative phase between segments. Copyright 2003. More complicated than low-bit. Marchany .Ways to Hide Data in Audio   Phase encoding substitutes the phase of an initial audio segment with a reference to the phase that represents the data.

Marchany . Makes it difficult for an adversary to find the data unless they have access to and or reconstruct the pseudo-random signal used to spread the data across the frequency range.Ways to Hide Data in Audio   Spread Spectrum spreads the encoded data across as much of the frequency spectrum as possible. Copyright 2003.

Marchany . The echo is perceived as the original sound.Ways to Hide Data in Audio  Echo Data Hiding embeds data into a host signal by introducing an echo. Copyright 2003. The data are hidden by varying 3 parameters of the echo:    Initial amplitude Decay rate Offset  The echo blends as the offset between the original and the echo decreases.

MP3 in a Nutshell    MP3 = ISO-MPEG Audio Layer-3 standard Basic principle is the audio signal contains a significant portion of info that can be discarded w/o the average listener noticing the change. How telephones work. Copyright 2003. Marchany .

Outer loop is a noise control/distortion loop. MP3stego tool operates within the MP3 encoding process. Inner loop is a rate loop. It hides data during data compression.MP3 in a Nutshell     Layer-3 encoder uses 2 nested iteration loops. Marchany . Copyright 2003.

MP3Stego    Created by Fabien Petitcolas The secret data is compressed. Hiding process takes place in the inner loop Copyright 2003. encrypted and then hidden in the MP3 bit stream. Marchany .

mp3. Copyright 2003.mp3 Decode –X –P passphrase hells_bells.txt into hells_bells. To decrypt. you need the password “passphrase”. Marchany .txt –P passphrase hells_bells.wav hells_bells.wav with secret_text.mp3 Example compresses hells_bells.MP3Stego     Encode –E secret_text.

Makes it easier to track illegal copies.wav file must be a mono 16 bit file encoded with pulse code modulation at 44100 Hz.  Copyright 2003. MP3Stego can be used to insert a copyright marking system for MP3 files.Caveats    The . Marchany .

& Petticolas F. R. SANS GIAC paper “On the limits of steganography” by Anderson.References    “MP3Stego: Hiding Text in MP3 Files” by Mark Noto.\ “Hiding in plain sight” by K. Marchany . Weeks Copyright 2003.

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