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Air University Student Research Paper 2000

Title: STEGANOGRAPHIC COMPUTER WARFARE

Subject: STEGANOGRAPHIC COMPUTER WARFARE

Author(s): Jordon T. Cochran, Captain, USAF

DTIC Keywords:

Abstract: Computer technology permeates every aspect our daily operations. As this dependence increases, users become more susceptible to attacks. This threat comes largely from computer viruses, which fall under the Information Warfare domain. Steganography's goal is to conceal information, in plain sight. Although steganography tools have been around for several years, their true potential continues to be explored. This resurgence in steganography combined with the aforementioned computer virus threat raises potential risks. This research attempts to determine strategies that can be used automatically to decode a steganography file. Emphasis is placed on automated techniques and is not specific to any steganography application. The primary objective of this thesis is to explore and assess computer systems' vulnerability to steganographic virus attacks. The results indicate that steganography tools are not conducive to be sole attack weapons. However, the tools combined with other applications could be used to automatically extract the hidden information with minimal user intervention. The research examined the current state of steganography tool capabilities with regard to computer virus implementations. Coupling these two technologies can result in a very deceptive and powerful IW attack and pose a significant risk to the United States government and our national information infrastructure.


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