New threat: Computer files hidden in digital images

The emergence of software that enables hiding digital code in photographic images has given criminals a new way to disguise their activities, but researchers are working to give law enforcement advanced tools of their own to sniff out such code.

Researchers at the Midwest Forensics Resource Center at the Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University are working on tools for what's called steganalysis. Steganography refers to the concealing of files in other files, such as JPEG images (the colors of a picture might be slightly changed to hide data).

"There's lots of room within a digital image to hide data," says Clifford Bergman, an Iowa State math professor and researcher, in a statement. Bergman and his fellow researchers are searching for statistical measures to spot hidden data and are using a pattern recognition system called an artificial neural net to tell stego images from clean ones. The system in one early test was able to spot 92 percent of the stego images in a sample database.

The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation is field-testing the program and a GUI is in the works to make the system easier to use.

The hope, Bergman says, is to come up with strong enough algorithms that forensic experts can collect evidence that will be admissible in court.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Network World staff

Network World (US online)
Show Comments





Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?