Such efforts have rekindled the research and development efforts oriented toward steganography platforms and steganalysis and a number of researchers are working toward discovering new platforms that miscreants could potentially use to hide information.
Researchers have shown that voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) could emerge into a popular platform for steganography, owing to its ubiquity and the difficulty in detecting hidden information in VoIP streams. In addition to VoIP, platforms such as images and other multimedia content will be widely used for concealing information.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (technicalinsights.frost.com), Steganography: Future of Information Hiding, finds that steganography is gradually gaining attention from the business community and steganalysis tools could slowly find a place in both medium- and large-sized enterprises that are concerned about protecting their intellectual assets. Steganography is also gaining traction as a legitimate technology, used for covert communications, copyright marking, and data security.
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"Current research in steganography is focused on identifying various platforms through which one can hide information," notes Technical Insights Research Analyst Gaurav Sundararaman. "Apart from the traditional platforms such as audio, video, and images, researchers are looking for additional platforms/digital media through which information can be hidden."
An interesting idea under consideration is to have a separate steganographic channel in a network to send messages. Although each platform has many benefits, it is very difficult to ascertain the single best platform to send hidden messages.
Steganography is capable of mitigating piracy by aiding copyright marking. In the future, digital camera manufacturers could implement steganographic features as a part of camera firmware to annotate pictures with the photographer's copyright information. Camcorder manufacturers could also follow suit and implement steganography and watermarking techniques for protecting video content captured on camcorders and video cameras. Going forward, legitimate applications such as tagging of multimedia content with hidden information could become an important application area for steganography.
"There is a distinct lack of awareness about steganography, particularly among the business community," observes Technical Insights Research Analyst Achyuthanandan S. A major challenge associated with the field is convincing organizations to deploy tools to detect insider use of steganography, which requires complete awareness on the way data is embedded and various approaches toward detecting this activity.
Currently, steganography represents a classical paradox: It is next to impossible to convince people to look for something they cannot see and do not think anyone is using because there is no large body of empirical data to prove that steganography is being used to transmit information outside of corporate networks. The main reason for the absence of a large body of empirical data is the lack of adoption of steganalysis tools in enterprises.
"Steganography is ideally suited for protecting intellectual property. Implementing steganalysis and steganography tools could be beneficial for businesses," says Achyuthanandan. "However, companies are skeptical about adopting steganography as they do not find tangible monetary benefits."
As the possibility of steganography used with predominantly malicious intent is high, enterprises and national security organizations need to recognize the threats posed by steganography and implement the right countermeasures. Government and security enterprises must take the lead and implement measures to increase the awareness about steganography. Industry leaders need to work with researchers and channel their R&D efforts toward development of effective technologies/solutions that would provide substantial benefits.
Steganography: Future of Information Hiding, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides an analysis of the trends that are shaping the domain of steganography and offers approaches that could help in its commercialization. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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Steganography: Future of Information Hiding / D1D9