The Barnes & Noble Review
Are Osama bin Laden and his buddies exchanging information hidden in the “digital noise” of photos or audio clips? That’s what the rumors say. So far the rumors are just rumors, but steganography -- the art of hiding information -- is rapidly gaining recognition as a key information security weapon. If bin Laden isn’t using it, the RIAA and MPAA likely will, to digitally watermark their music and movies.
If you want to understand how it works, start with Disappearing Cryptography, Second Edition. Peter Wayner explains each key concept and technique, including several new ones: locking hidden images so they can only be read by an authorized recipient; hiding messages simply by reordering lists (what’s really in tonight’s Letterman Top Ten?); and new “spread spectrum” techniques that draw on advanced concepts from wireless communications. He also introduces steganalysis, the science of identifying and compromising files that contain hidden messages. (Fortunately or unfortunately, many current stego algorithms are quite vulnerable.)
The book’s code samples -- previously written in Pascal -- have been recast in Java, making them far more accessible (one’s even online at Wayner’s site, www.wayner.org/texts/mimic/, so you can try it for yourself right now). (Bill Camarda)
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.