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Re: Internet proves easy way for terrorists to communicate
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 06:26:56 -0500 (CDT)

Forwarded from: Dan Verton <Dan_Verton () computerworld com>

FYI...from Ross Anderson
University of Cambridge

Unfortunately, the story that bin Laden hides his secret messages in
pornographic images on the net appears to be too good for the tabloids
to pass up. It appears to have arisen from work done by Niels Provos
at the University of Michigan. In November last year, he wrote in a
technical report that he could find no evidence that messages were
being hidden in online images. By February this year, this had been
been conflated by USA Today, an American popular paper, with an
earlier FBI briefing on cryptography into a tale that terrorists could
be using steganography to hide messages [2]. Similar material has
surfaced in a number of the racier areas of the net [3], despite being
criticised a number of times by more technically informed writers [4].


Dan Verton: I would add that this analysis is consistent with
intelligence analysis that shows al Qaeda to have shifted the bulk of
its C2 to non-technical means in order to avoid U.S. surveillance.
Although, stegonography makes good technology copy -- just a thought
from a former intelligence officer turned technology journalist :-)




InfoSec News <isn () c4i org> on 10/08/2001 04:09:19 AM

Please respond to InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>

To:   isn () attrition org
cc:    (bcc: Dan Verton/Computerworld)
Subject:  [ISN] Internet proves easy way for terrorists to communicate


http://www.nandotimes.com/technology/story/125043p-1308529c.html

By LISA HOFFMAN, Scripps Howard News Service

(October 6, 2001 2:12 p.m. EDT) - To terrorist cells such as Al Qaeda,
a picture on the Web can be worth a lot more than a thousand words.

Employing the 21st century version of a concept as old as secrets
themselves, alleged terrorists affiliated with Osama bin Laden are
believed to have exploited the vastness of the Internet to hide
messages between conspirators in what amounts to plain sight.

According to declassified intelligence reports, court testimony and
computer security experts, bin Laden's network has been a pioneer in
adapting the ancient art of steganography to the Internet. U.S.
officials and high-tech researchers seeking to counter such techniques
are scrambling for methods to detect or derail them.

Online steganography - derived from the Greek words meaning "covered
writing" - essentially involves hiding information or communications
inside something so unremarkable that no one would suspect it's there.
It's the cyber-equivalent of invisible ink or the "dead drops" that
spies use to pass secrets.

[...]



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