Illinois Tech ITM and MCFS Students Win Best Paper Award for the 2016 ACM Research in Information Technology (RIIT) Conference

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From L to R: Anthony Ramirez and ITM professor Ray Trygstad.

Master of Cyber Forensics and Security alumnus Anthony Ramirez received the Best Paper Award for the 2016 ACM Research in Information Technology (RIIT) conference in Boston. This is the third time in five years that Illinois Tech Information Technology and Management researchers have received this award.

Congratulations to Alfredo Fernandez (ITM undergraduate) and Anthony Ramirez (MCFS ’16) who conducted the research as part of a student project with William Lidinsky, industry professor of information technology and management. Their project, “MP4 Steganography,” shows how to use Steganography, or the act of concealing the existence of data. The paper outlines three methods that can be used to hide data: generation, substitution, and insertion. The generation method uses the covert file to create an overt file. The substitution method requires replacing some of the data from the overt file with the covert file. The insertion method inserts the covert data in a location that will not affect how the overt data is processed.

MP4 files have become the most-used video media file available, and will mostly likely remain at the top for some time to come. This makes MP4 files an interesting candidate for steganography. With its size and structure, it offers a challenge to steganography developers. While some attempts have been made to create a truly covert file, few are as successful as Martin Fiedler’s TCSteg. TCSteg allows users to hide a TrueCrypt hidden volume in an MP4 file. The structure of the file makes it difficult to identify that a volume exists. In their analysis of TCSteg, they show how Fielder’s code works and how they are able to detect the existence of steganography. They then implement these methods in the hope that other steganography analysts can use them to determine if an MP4 file is a carrier file. Finally, they address the future of MP4 steganography.

You can learn more about Fernandez’s and Ramirez’s project and see a video presentation of their project from the Illinois Tech ForenSecure: Cyber Forensics and Security Conference here.