A real case of malicious steganography in the wild?

Steven Bellovin smb at cs.columbia.edu
Tue Jun 29 03:33:51 EDT 2010

For years, there have been unverifiable statements in the press about assorted hostile parties using steganography.  There may now be a real incident -- or at least, the FBI has stated in court documents that it happened.

According to the Justice Department (http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/June/10-nsd-753.html), 11 Russian nationals have been operating as deep cover agents in the US for many years.  According to Complaint #2 (link at the bottom of the page), a steganographic program was used.  Other Internet-era techniques allegedly employed include ad hoc WiFi networks.  (To be sure, the FBI could be wrong.  In the past, I've seen them make mistakes about that, but they're *much* more experienced now.)

It will be interesting to see how this develops in court.

		--Steve Bellovin, http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb

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