Albion College Mathematics and Computer Science Colloquium

Title:Hide and Seek: A Quick Peek at Steganography
Speaker:Peter Honeyman
Research Professor of Information and Scientific Director
Center for Information Technology Integration
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Abstract:In February 2001, Jack Kelley reported in USA Today that Usama bin Laden and his associates were communicating plans for terrorist attacks against the United States by surreptitiously embedding them in photographs posted on the Internet.

To investigate Kelley's claim, Niels Provos and I downloaded images from implicated web sites. We examined them for months on a collection of over 500 engineering workstations using state of the art steganography detection algorithms developed by Provos as part of his doctoral research.

In August 2001, we reported at a computer security conference that our examination of millions of images failed to produce a single hidden message. One month later, our results took on unexpected significance and were reported all over the world.

In 2004, USA Today fired Jack Kelley, who admitted to years of mendacious reporting.

In this talk, I will (briefly!) review the 25 century history of steganography, describe how today's techniques borrow from modern cryptography, and show how even the most sophisticated algorithms leave subtle telltales that suggest the presence of hidden content. I will review the massive search that Niels and I undertook and explain why I believe that our results accurately reflect the absence of steganographic content in secret Internet communications.
Location:Palenske 227
Time:3:10 PM

author  = "{Peter Honeyman}",
title   = "{Hide and Seek: A Quick Peek at Steganography}",
address = "{Albion College Mathematics and Computer Science Colloquium}",
month   = "{16 October}",
year    = "{2008}"