Discover how it is possible to apply steganography to hide secret messages in common tweets (or any text) with steg.js-of-the-dump.
In the past we have discussed many times on the adoption of steganography to hide messages within images and video, a technique exploited also by authors of malware to hide configuration file and command sent by the C&C servers to bots.
This time I desire to discuss the possibility to hide secret messages in apparently harmless and normal tweets with a steganographic method. The post describes how to hide secret messages in user’s tweets (or any text) with steg-of-the-dump.js
The technique is based on the replacement of the letters of the tweet with similar looking letters (Unicode homoglyphs) that are used to hide the hidden content.
Be aware because the technique just allow to hide messages inside a clear content, it doesn’t encrypt the text and this means that if a third party access to the message and knows about the hidden messages it could easily read it.
The technique shown is valid for any communication platform that doesn’t corrupt the message, for example, inserting extra code, this means that this application of steganography works for Twitter and in emails, meanwhile Facebook will probably corrupt it.
The hidden message may only contain only the following subset of characters ;
The post provides an implementation of the script used to hide the text in the tweets, it allows simply encoding and decoding the messages.
The post also provides a suggestion to try to manually recover corrupted tweets, first try adding spaces at the beginning of the message to realign the 6-bit boundary, another possibility is to add the spaces to that area of the tweet that is suspected to be corrupted.
A possible use for this king of steganography is hiding commands sent by C&C making the hard to be detected by a visual inspection of the tweets, consider that a growing number of botnet today makes use of social media platform as communication channell to avoid detection and this methods could help botmasters.
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.