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Low-Tech Steganography, Text Steganography, cover generation, espionage, under-cover journalism
Text steganography, the art of concealing a secret text inside another innocuous text called the cover, is usually performed by insertion of whitespace, punctuation marks, misspelling words, or by arbitrarily capitalizing words or inserting synonyms, changing font-sizes & colors, etc. All of these have the disadvantage that they either arouse suspicion or are easily noticeable; and even lost if manually copied, i.e. handwritten. Furthermore, they are easily detectable by automated checkers. Still there are other methods which require a stego-key in order to decrypt the message. In covert intelligence operations, transmission of the stego-key may not be possible at all, more so when the message is urgent. Digital communications and Internet connectivity may also be lacking in certain situations, and the only mode of message passing available may be the exchange of handwritten text on paper; which effectively rules out text modifications like font-changes, whitespace insertion, etc. or any form of digital steganography like image/audio steganography. Finally, in almost all text-steganographic techniques, there is no provision to for the receiver to detect whether or not there is indeed any message embedded. This is very important in intelligence operations where a number of decoy text need to be sent with only one concealing the actual message. In this paper, we propose a new tool called STEGASSIST that can help the sender in generating the stego-text manually. It is a low-tech form of steganography that is especially suited to covert operations like espionage or under-cover journalism. In this method, the generated cover and the stego-text are identical, or in other words, there is no cover-text. Moreover, decryption does not require a stego-key, and the stego-text may be printed or even hand-written and sent via unreliable messengers, or published, without arousing any suspicion. Finally, the received stego-text can be checked by the receiver to detect whether or not there is any actual message embedded in it.
Akash Nag,"Low-Tech Steganography for Covert Operations", International Journal of Mathematical Sciences and Computing (IJMSC), Vol.5, No.1, pp.18-30, 2019. DOI: 10.5815/ijmsc.2019.01.02
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