The New Threats of Information Hiding: the Road Ahead

by   K. Cabaj, et al.

Compared to cryptography, steganography is a less discussed domain. However, there is a recent trend of exploiting various information hiding techniques to empower malware, for instance to bypass security frameworks of mobile devices or to exfiltrate sensitive data. This is mostly due to the need to counteract increasingly sophisticated security mechanisms, such as code analysis, runtime countermeasures, or real-time traffic inspection tools. In this perspective, this paper presents malware exploiting information hiding in a broad sense, i.e., it does not focus on classical covert channels, but also discusses other camouflage techniques. Differently from other works, this paper solely focuses on real-world threats observed in the 2011 - 2017 timeframe. The observation indicates a growing number of malware equipped with some form of data hiding capabilities and a lack of effective and universal countermeasures.



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