The Keys to the Kingdom: Understanding Covert Channels of Communication presented at BlackHatAsia 2004

by Russ Rogers,

Summary : Security professionals see the compromise of networked systems on a day to day basis. It's something they've come to expect. The blatant exploitation of operating systems, applications, and configurations is a common event and is taken into account by most security engineers. But a different type of security compromise threatens to crumble the underlying security of the modern organization.
There are forms of communication that transfer sensitive data outside of organizations every day. Covert channels are used to move proprietary information in and out of commercial, private, and government entities on a daily basis. These covert channels include things such as Steganography, Covert network channels, Data File Header and Footer Appending, and Alternate Data Streams. Media to be covered include images, audio files, TCP covert channels, Word substitution mechanisms, the Windows file system and others.
This presentation will show the attendees common means of covert communication by hiding information through multiple means. We'll also discuss the future of Covert Channels and how hidden information is becoming more and more difficult to detect. Detection of these forms of communication is trailing well behind the technology creating them, this presentation will discuss some of the newest concepts in utilizing Covert Channels and Steganography.