This awardee has received supplemental funding. This award detail page includes information about both the original award and supplemental awards.
Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2005, $493,322)
When fully functional, the West Virginia SARC will conduct research into methodologies and technologies for uncovering Steganography. It will share the results of that research with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and provide consulting services during forensic analysis of seized computers.
The word Steganography is derived from the Greek words steganos which means cover and graphy which means writing. Thus, steganography literally means "covered writing." Covered writing has been used throughout history for secret communications. Criminals, to include terrorists, have always sought ways to conceal their activity in real, or physical space. The same is true in virtual, or cyber space.
Digital steganography represents a particularly significant threat today because of the large number of digital steganography applications freely available on the Internet that can be used to hide any digital file inside of another digital file. Use of these applications, which are both easy to obtain and simple to use, allows criminals to conceal their activities in cyber space. Thus, steganography presents a significant challenge to law enforcement as well as the intelligence community because detecting hidden information and then extracting that information is very difficult and may be impossible in some cases.
By providing a national repository of steganography application hash values, or fingerprints, and developing tools, techniques, and procedures to find and extract hidden information, the SARC is rapidly evolving into a high-value law enforcement, homeland security, and national security asset in the global war on terrorism and effort to combat cyber crime.
DSD Laboratories will continue efforts to establish a national repository of digital Steganography applications and hash values, or digital fingerprints, of all the files associated with the various Steganography applications in a database that can be consulted by Federal, state, and local law enforcement computer forensic examiners during forensic examination of a seized computer and associated digital media. Steganography applications will be obtained as a result of Internet searches for freeware/shareware and commercially licensed versions of as many Steganography applications as can be found, or acquired with the resources available as a result of an award for this project proposal.