Matryoshka: Hiding Secret Communication in Plain Sight

We want to enable a pair of communicating users to exchange secret messages while hiding the fact that secret communication is taking place. We propose a linguistic steganography approach, where each human message is hidden in another human-like message. A hard open question is how to keep the steganographic message small -- existing related tools tend to blow up its size, thereby revealing the use of steganography. We encrypt by compressing each message, mapping it to a plausible sequence of words (using a language model), and letting the human user edit the outcome to produce a human-like message; we decrypt with a Viterbi-like state decoder. Our approach aims in producing text that a human can edit and fix with minimal effort. As a first step, we build a prototype of our system that helps users encrypt English messages (into English messages), and we report on first experiments on Mechanical Turk.

Presented at:
6th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI), Austin, Texas, USA, August 8, 2016

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 Record created 2016-07-20, last modified 2019-12-05

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