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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?