Sunday, May 8, 2011

New Scientist: Covert Fragmentation helps embed secrets

Encryption has always been the most important way of hiding all type of data either on servers or on your own computer. However these encryptions are becoming old news. Most hackers notice the encrypted files due to the completely random information they portray. As Hassan Khan of the University of Los Angeles says: It's a dead giveaway. New methods are now being developed that involve hiding information in plain sight, in other words, altering the position where the hidden file is not its contents. A hard drive stores data in chunks known as clusters where space is available. Form what I understand the code depends on sequential clusters, meaning the way the clusters are arranged. The coding also depends on whether the clusters are adjacent to each other or not assigning each of them a binary 0 or 1.

The most interesting aspect of this type of fragmentation is that an investigator cannot distinguish between the coding and the deletion and addition of files which cause the same effect on the clusters. The use of steganography (hiding in plain sight) will be open source which leads me to believe that it has been in the hands of military and intelligence agencies for some time. This means that there are ways to hack it otherwise they would not have released it to the public so easily.

It's been a long long time since I last posted something on the blog. I have had an immense amount of school work that has taken up most of my time. Now, with exams coming up I wanted to make this one last post before they start.