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Steganography and History of Cryptography. Dr. Ron Rymon Efi Arazi School of Computer Science IDC, Herzliya. 2010/11. Pre-Requisites: None. Overview. Steganography History of Cryptography Modern Cryptography General Model of Modern Cryptography. Steganography.

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steganography and history of cryptography

Steganography andHistory of Cryptography

Dr. Ron Rymon

Efi Arazi School of Computer Science

IDC, Herzliya. 2010/11

Pre-Requisites: None

  • Steganography
  • History of Cryptography
  • Modern Cryptography
  • General Model of Modern Cryptography


Main source: “The Code Book” / Singh

  • In Greek
    • Steganos = covered
    • Graphein = to write
  • Steganography is about hiding messages
  • Historically, secret messages were often hidden (or memorized)
  • Today, steganography is used primarily to protect digital rights
    • “watermarking” copyright notices
    • “fingerprinting” a serial ID
history of steganography physically hiding
History of Steganography (Physically Hiding)
  • Runners were memorizing messages
    • Sometimes killed after delivering the message
  • Demaratus tells Athens of Persia’s attack plans
    • Writes the secret message on a tablet, and covers it with wax
  • Greek Histaiaeus encouraged Aristagoras of Miletus to revolt against the Persian King.
    • Writes message on the shaved head of the messenger, and sends him after his hair grew
  • Chinese silk balls
    • Message is written on silk, turned into wax-covered ball that was swallowed by the messenger…
  • Invisible ink-jet technology
    • Ink that is too small for human eye (Univ of Buffalo, 2000)
history of steganography cont
History of Steganography (cont.)
  • Invisible Ink
    • Certain organic fluids (milk, fruit juice) are transparent when dried but the deposit can be charred and is then visible
    • Romans used to write between the lines
    • A mixture of alum and vinegar may be used to write on hardboiled eggs, so that can only be read once shell is broken
history of steganography cont7
History of Steganography (cont.)
  • Microdots
    • WW2 Germany - documents shrunk to the size of a dot, and embedded within innocent letters
    • DNA microdot, embedding synthetically formed DNA sequence (secret) into a normal DNA strand, then posting as microdot
    • Inkjet dots, smaller than human eye can see
    • Microdots with barcode-like information
  • Easter eggs
    • Programmers embed in software
      • See
    • Claims that Beatles embedded secret messages in their music
hiding a message within a text
Hiding a message within a text
  • An actual message from a German spy
    • read second letter in each word

“Apparently, neutral’s protest is thoroughly discounted and ignored. Isman hard hit. Blockade issue affect pretext for embargo on by products, ejecting suets and vegetable oils.”

“Pershing Sails from NY June 1”

hiding a message within a text more
Hiding a message within a text (more)
  • Shift some words by one point/pixel.
    • Shifted words (or their first letters) make the sentence
  • Use different fonts
    • Letter by letter or word by word (Francis Bacon Cipher)
  • Lexical steganography uses the redundancy of the English language
    • “I feel well” and “I feel fine” seem the same, but one may be used to encode “SOS”
  • Chaffing and winnowing
    • Riddle text with extra parts that the receiver will know how to remove (e.g., those that don’t “authenticate”)
modern steganography
Modern Steganography
  • Hiding one message within another (“container”)
  • Most containers are rich media
    • Images, audio, video are very redundant, can be tweaked without affecting human eye/ear
    • US argued that Bin Laden implanted instructions within taped interviews
  • Copyright notices embedded in digital art
    • Prove ownership
    • Serial number embedded to prevent replication
    • Seek infringements on the web using spiders
  • Digital cameras EXIF tags
    • Not secretive, but hidden from the eye
    • Embed info such as camera type, date, shutter speed, focal length,..
  • Similarly, possible to embed messages in invisible parts of html pages
hiding a message in an image
Hiding a Message in an Image
  • Example: use 1-2 Least Significant Bits (LSB) in each pixel
    • human eye wont notice the difference
    • message can be compressed to reduce number of bits needed
    • only half the bits are likely to change on average
    • prefer “containers” with a lot of variations
  • Message (M1) in an Image
    • Steganography is the art and science of communicating in a way which hides the existence of the communication. In contrast to cryptography, where the "enemy" is allowed to detect, intercept and modify messages without being able to violate certain security premises guaranteed by a cryptosystem, the goal of steganography is to hide messages inside other "harmless" messages in a way that does not allow any "enemy" to even detect that there is a second secret message present [Markus Kuhn 1995-07-03].
  • Check out Steganos (, Digimarc (
  • Detection: is there a hidden message?
    • Develop signatures for known steganographic tools, e.g. in LSB method, expect local homogeneity
    • When content is encrypted, the message should have a high entropy (“white noise”)
    • Promising results: high detection rates
  • Decoding: recover hidden message
    • No significant work in this area !
  • Prevention: destroy or remove a hidden message
    • Most steganographies not robust to image alterations
    • Short messages (e.g. copyright) can be encoded redundantly and survive an alternation
steganography summary
Steganography (Summary)
  • Steganography is arguably weaker than cryptography because the information is revealed once the message is intercepted
  • On the other hand, an encrypted message that is not hidden may attract attention, and in some cases may itself incriminate the messenger
  • In any event, steganography can be used in conjunction with cryptography
history of cryptography

History of Cryptography

Main source: “The Code Book” / Singh

  • In Cryptography, the meaning of the message is hidden, not its existence
    • Kryptos = “hidden” in Greek
  • Historically, and also today, encryption involves
    • transposition of letters
      • Sparta’s scytale is first cryptographic device (5th Century BC)
        • Message written on a leather strip, which is then unwound to scramble the message
    • substitution
      • Hebrew ATBASH (אתבש)
      • Kama-Sutra suggests that women learn to encrypt their love messages by substituting pre-paired letters (4th Century AD)
      • Cipher – replace letters
      • Code – replace words
monoalphabetic ciphers
Monoalphabetic Ciphers
  • Caesar Shift Cipher
    • Each letter substituted by shifting n=3 places
      • E X A M P L E
      • H A D P S O H
    • Only 25 such ciphers
  • Jefferson wheel implementation
    • Set the message across the wheels
    • Select another line (in random) as cipher
  • Substitution based on key phrase
    • Substitution key consists of phrase’s letters (uniquely) followed by rest of the alphabet in order
    • 26! (roughly 1026) monoalphabetic substitution ciphers
breaking monoalphabetic ciphers
Breaking Monoalphabetic Ciphers
  • The Arabs broke monoalphabetic substitution using frequency analysis
    • In English (Source: Beker & Piper)
    • Thus, letters ciphering e, t, and a are easily discovered
    • Subsequently can look for the rest of the letters and letter pairs
homophonic substitution
Homophonic Substitution
  • Homophonic substitution cipher can be used to foil frequency analysis
    • Keyed 2-digit substitution
    • Reverse frequency
vigenere polyalphabetic cipher
Vigenere Polyalphabetic Cipher
  • Vigenere’s polyalphabetic cipher (19th century) generalizes Caesar’s shift cipher
    • Use keyword to select encrypting rows

Vigenere Tableau

  • The Vigenere cipher is not amenable to simple frequency analysis
  • Actually invented earlier (16th century)
  • Called “The Unbreakable Cipher”
babbage breaks vigenere cipher
Babbage breaks Vigenere Cipher
  • Babbage broke Vigenere’s Cipher (1854, Crimean war)
    • Stage 1: Discover key length
      • Look for repeated sequences, and measure their distance
      • The key length is a factor of these distances
    • Stage 2: Identify the key itself
      • Compare distributions for each of the key letters with the standard distribution, to identify the shift
  • Babbage could not publish his work
    • Similar techniques developed independently by Kasiski (a Prussian officer); Kerckhoff (French cryptographer)
  • Check out an applet that breaks Vigenere:
historical coding
Historical Coding
  • Louis XIV’s Great Cipher (Rossignols) used one symbol (3-digit number) per syllable (held 200 years)
  • Mary Queen of Scots used a combination of cipher and coded words
    • Referred to as a nomenclature because many codes were for names
  • e.g,
  • US Army used Navajo language as code in WWII
transposition ciphers
Transposition Ciphers
  • Redfence (by key): IETGIAESHCEESSMATRSS
  • Columnar
unbreakable encryption
Unbreakable Encryption
  • One time pads
    • Sender and receiver use a pre-arranged random stream of letters
    • Encryption=addition modulo 26
      • XOR when binary
    • Every letter in the key used only once
  • One time pads provide for the only perfectly secure encryption algorithms
    • All the rest are only computationally secure
    • Used by Soviet spies, and also for US-USSR hotline
  • Requires significant logistical effort and coordination
  • Relies on randomness of key
summary of historical crypto
Summary of Historical Crypto
  • Encryption Algorithms and Keys
    • Substitution : letters (bits), words
    • Transposition
  • Decryption Algorithms
    • Reversed process
    • Require knowledge of the algorithm and the key
  • Cryptanalysis
    • Identify algorithm
    • Obtain as many plaintext-ciphertext pairs
    • Use systematicity (patterns)
    • Use hints (cribs)
modern cryptography

Modern Cryptography

Main source: Network Security Essentials / Stallings

kerckhoffs principles system keys
Kerckhoffs PrinciplesSystem + Keys
  • The system must be substantially, if not mathematically, undecipherable;
  • The system must not require secrecy and can be stolen by the enemy without causing trouble;
  • It must be easy to communicate and remember the keys without requiring written notes, it must also be easy to change or modify the keys with different participants;
  • The system ought to be compatible with telegraph communication;
  • The system must be portable, and its use must not require more than one person;
  • Finally, regarding the circumstances in which such system is applied, it must be easy to use and must neither require stress of mind nor the knowledge of a long series of rules.

August Kerckhoffs, Journal of Military Science, 1883

the german enigma
The German Enigma
  • Invented as a commercial machine (Scherbius), and failed
    • Electrical typewriter-like encryption machine
    • Each keystroke lights a letter
  • Performing substitutions
    • Letter-pairs are switched
    • Pulse goes through scramblers
    • Hits reflector and goes back
  • Original Enigma (M3) based on commercial version
    • Reconfigurable 6 swapped letter-pairs
    • 3 rotating scramblers (263 orientations)
    • scramblers can be configured in 6 (3!) ways
    • Later, up to 5 scramblers to choose from
  • Theoretical key space = a total of 1017 combinations
  • Used extensively by Germans in WW2
poles crack the enigma
Poles Crack the Enigma
  • Polish obtained an Enigma from a German spy (1933)
    • Hans-Thilo Schmidt sold to French intelligence
  • Obtained information on its usage
    • daily code book indicated rotors and orientation
    • a different orientation key for each message
  • Rejewski focused on the repetitions
    • Message key encrypted twice in the message header
    • Formalized relationships between 1st-4th ,2nd-5th, and 3rd-6th letters
    • Built chains
    • Chains depend only on scrambler orientation, not on pairs swaps
      • Thus need to consider only 3! x 263 = 105456 configurations
    • Built a catalog of characteristic chains for all configurations
poles crack the enigma30
Poles Crack the Enigma
  • Rejewski’s algorithm to discover the day key
    • First, use catalog to identify the scrambler setting and orientation
    • Then, run the ciphertext through an Enigma and look at the text to identify swapped letter pairs
  • Bombe machines were constructed to mechanize the search
british crack improved enigma
British Crack Improved Enigma
  • In 1939, Germans increased Enigma security
    • Navy admiral added 2 extra scramblers to choose from – 10x arrangements (5 choose 3, times the 3! orderings)
    • Hitler used a more complex version – Lorenz Cipher
    • increased to 10 letter pair swaps
  • British (Bletchley Park) continued where the Polish left
    • Recruited best Mathematicians (Turing) and large staff (7000)
    • Did not make much progress until received Bombes from Polish
  • Used human weaknesses. Provided hints and cribs
    • Trivial message keys (key sequences, names initials)
    • Artificial restrictions on scramblers selection/orientation
    • Standard messages (weather) sent with 4th scrambler neutralized
    • Some German codebooks were captured
british crack improved enigma32
British Crack Improved Enigma
  • Turing built swap-independent chains (a la Rejewski)
    • First British Bombe (Victory) delivered in 1940
    • Search still required significant human help
  • In 1942, Germans add 4th active scrambler (M4)
    • Bletchley Park could not decipher M4’s messages for 10 months
  • Could only break it when info was captured in u-boats
    • Captured machines, rotors, weather manuals, providing cribs
  • Later in the war, US Navy also constructed even faster and more sophisticated bombes
    • Japanese used PURPLE, a machine modeled after Enigma
    • Pearl Harbor Attack was broken hours before the attack
  • The British ULTRA – broken German, Italian and Japanese communications were crucial to winning the war
a general model of cryptography

A General Model of Cryptography

Main source: Network Security Essentials / Stallings

modern encryption principles
Modern Encryption Principles
  • An encryption scheme has 5 ingredients
    • Plaintext, Encryption Algorithm, Key, Ciphertext, and Decryption Algorithm
    • Security depends on secrecy of the key, not algorithm
      • Recall Kerckhoff
  • M, or P will usually denote the plaintext message
  • C will usually denote the ciphertext
  • K will usually denote a key
  • Ek(M)=C is the encryption function
  • Dk(C)=M is the decryption function
  • Dk(Ek(M))=M represents the typical flow
cryptographic protocols
Cryptographic Protocols
  • Self enforcing protocols
  • Arbitrated protocols
    • Trusted third party helps in real time
  • Adjudicated protocols
    • Trusted third party, but only if needed and after the fact
  • Self enforcing protocols
  • Self enforcing protocols
  • Arbitrated protocols
    • Trusted third party helps in real time
attacks against cryptographic protocols not the algorithms
Attacks Against Cryptographic Protocols (Not the Algorithms)
  • Passive attacks (eavesdropping)
    • Cryptanalysis
    • Traffic analysis
  • Active attacks
    • Impersonation
    • Interruption / denial
    • Modification of messages
    • Fabrication of new messages
    • Replay / Reflect messages
  • “man-in-the-middle” is a common tactic in active attacks
cryptographic algorithms typology
Cryptographic Algorithms Typology
  • Type of operations applies to plaintext
    • Substitution and transposition
  • Type of key(s)
    • Symmetric : same key: Dk(Ek(M))=M
    • Asymmetric, Public-Key : Dk2(Ek1(M))=M
  • How plaintext is processed into ciphertext
    • Which operations
    • How many operations
    • How the operations are combined
    • Block ciphers, Stream ciphers
cryptanalysis attacks against cryptographic algorithms
Cryptanalysis: Attacks against Cryptographic Algorithms
  • Ciphertext only
    • Uses only knowledge of algorithm and ciphertext
  • Known plaintext
    • Uses one or more plain-ciphertext pairs
    • Or, probable words: dictionary, known formats, etc.
  • Chosen text
    • Chosen to reveal information about the key
    • Chosen plaintext and its ciphertext
      • Differential chosen plaintext
      • Adaptive chosen plaintext
    • Chosen ciphertext and its original plaintext
      • Mostly against public-keys
computationally secure encryption
Computationally Secure Encryption
  • Encryption scheme is computationally secure if
    • The cost of breaking the cipher exceeds the value of the encrypted information; or
    • The time required to break the cipher exceeds the useful lifetime of the information
  • Most schemes that we will discuss are not unbreakable in principle, but are computationally secure
  • Rely on lack of knowledge of effective algorithms for certain hard problems, not on a proven inexistence of ones
    • E.g., factorization, discrete logarithms, or square roots mod p
  • Rely on very large key-space, impregnable to brute force
shannon s theory of secrecy
Shannon’s Theory of Secrecy
  • Cryptanalysts try to modify the a priori probabilities of alternative messages until one emerges
  • A cryptographic scheme is perfectly secure if knowledge of the ciphertext does not change the odds in favor of any of the possible plaintexts
    • i.e., the probability function remains uniform
  • Shannon’s Theory: the key must be at least as large as the message (entropy) and cannot be reused
    • Message entropy = minimum number of bits needed to express all possible messages, e.g., English entropy is 1.3 bits per letter
    • Therefore, the secrecy of a cryptographic scheme depends on its entropy, i.e. the number of key bits, or the size of the key space
  • Only the one-time pad achieves perfect secrecy
shannon s diffusion and confusion principles
Shannon’s Diffusion and Confusion Principles
  • In the lack of perfect security, a cryptographic algorithm shall at least try to foil statistical attacks
    • E.g., use frequency of plaintext to rule out or substantially change the odds of possible cipher texts
  • Shannon’s Cryptographic Principles:
    • Diffusion: every letter of plaintext should affect many letters in ciphertext
      • Sometimes called avalanche effect
    • Confusion: the relationship between plaintext and ciphertext shall be complex
      • Many substitutions and transpositions make it difficult to reverse engineer the relationship
  • Shannon’s principles are the cornerstone of block cipher design
next classes
Next Classes
  • First
    • Conventional (Symmetric) Cryptography
  • Then
    • Public-Key Cryptography