Covert Communication

This use case discusses the merger of two joint-stock companies. Such a merger typically has a large impact on financial markets and the companies try to keep it secret. They need to communicate with each other in order to negotiate the terms of the merger but even the presence of an increased amount of communication between the two companies could serve as an indication of the merger to financial speculators. The Internet is inherently insecure and the companies are not sure who monitors their communications and for what purpose.

Traditional cryptographic approaches are not helpful in this situation because they cannot conceal the fact, that substantial amount of communication takes place between the two firms. On the basis of this communication and the economic situation, the pending merger can be easily inferred.

Steganography can conceal the existence of the communication process itself by transmitting the correspondence inside non-conspicuous graphic images or photos. Both companies can use their company forums, public services for storing images like Flickr, knowledge sharing platforms like Wikipedia or communication platforms like Facebook to exchange the multimedia hosts.

The encoding and decoding of the secret messages may be implemented as an extension of the corporate IT infrastructure or by adding additional web services responsible for the handling of the secret messages.