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Steganography Analysis Research Center

Award Information

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Total funding (to date)

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.

Date Created: August 29, 2005