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Deep Packet Analysis, Hacking / Counter Intelligence

Digital image steganography of encrypted text

Image stenography paranoisParanoia allows a user to securely transfer a text message by hiding it in a digital image file. 128 bit AES encryption is used to protect the content of the text message even if its presence were to be detected. Currently, no methods are known for breaking this kind of encryption within a reasonable period of time (i.e., a couple of years). Additionally, compression is used to maximize the space available in an image.

To send a message, a source text, an image in which the text should be embedded, and a key are merged. The key is used to aid in encryption and to decide where the information should be hidden in the image. Either another image or a short text can be used as a key.

This method of stenography is scary for us on the other end of intercepting and breaking stegs because of the enhanced key lengths and randomness. It is very hard to break a key when an image is actually the key.

In the case of paranoia I resort to binary dumping and then hashing to find unique images. This method allows me to prioritize my exploitation of the AES 128 algorithm used. An important lesson here is that steg software can be written faster than the community can find ways to identify and break it.

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About Pythorian

Exploration and Production oriented security consultant for securing IT infrastructures relating to natural resources.

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