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Digital steganography is a form of cyber terrorism. It is defined by as, “The art and science of hiding information by embedding messages within other, seemingly harmless messages.”
There has been some debate that Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network may have used steganography to transmit secret messages about terrorist activities across the Internet.
The word steganography comes from two Greek words, Steganos meaning ‘covered’ and graptos meaning ‘writing’. Many forms of steganography have been practiced throughout history from putting pinholes in select characters in an otherwise ordinary innocent letter to hiding information and maps behind the canvas in paintings.
Steganography differs from cryptography in that it appears as if there isn’t anything hidden to even look for. If you have a code you know you need to break it; if you have a steganographic picture or sound file you might not suspect there was any hidden information in it. Modern day steganography involves hiding one or more data files inside another, in the empty or unused areas of the file. These files can be audio, text or image files.
Although there are legitimate uses of steganography, it can be used to steal data, hide evidence, save pornographic images, and communicate secret plans. One of the most serious concerns is that it can be used as covert communication for terrorist purposes.