Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Telspace talks steganography

Last week, our very own Technical Director, Charlton Smith, gave a presentation on Steganography among a panel of experts at Webber Wentzel in Illovo.

The event was sponsored by Camargue Underwriting Managers and Webber Wentzel in alliance with Linklaters and took place on the 18th of July between 10:30 and 12:00. Telspace Systems was invited to attend the panel of experts as Camargue’s preferred penetration testing partners.

The panel was asked to discuss the realities of cybercrime in South Africa in the context of the upcoming POPI Act. Specifically, the discussion included cyber risk management and risk transfer strategies.

The informative and very funny presentation was delivered to around 20 attendees, both technical and non-technical, who all seemed impressed with both Charlie’s knowledge on the topic and his ability to add humour to the subject.

According to Charlie, he chose to talk about steganography because it is relatively low-level and he wanted to include the non-technical audience as well as the techies. He also believes, in the context of the POPI Act, steganography is very relevant as it allows for new techniques of transferring information, without setting off any alarms.

In brief, here are some of the highlights of Charlie’s presentation, entitled Steganography 101:

- The word steganography is of Greek origin and means "concealed writing".

- Steganography is not the same as cryptography, although they supplement each other.

- Early uses of this technique include hidden messages within wax tablets and there was even a story told by Herodotus of a message tattooed on the shaved head of a slave.

- Modern technology allows for a number of new techniques to be used in steganography, including injection techniques, bit substitution, spam, PGP, and even the game of Sudoku.

- Common carrier objects include images (.PNG .JPG .JPEG etc.), audio (Any sound clips .mp3 etc.), emails, and PDFs.

- Injection involves embedding the secret message directly into the carrier object and almost all programs today (web browsers, Microsoft Office programs, etc) have methods of placing data in a file that will be ignored or not displayed to the user.

New Junior Marketing Manager needed!

As an aside, Telspace Systems is currently looking for a Junior Marketing Manager to join our exciting team. If you think you have what it takes, please email adam[@]telspace.co.za for more information. Good luck!