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[ISN] Spies can send messages hidden in a Google search
By Paul Marks
17 June 2011
THE peculiar list of search options that Google suggests as you type in
a query could be hijacked to let people communicate secretly.
So says Wojciech Mazurczyk at the Warsaw University of Technology in
Poland, who specialises in steganography - the art of hiding messages in
Mazurczyk and his team dream up new ways in which spies or terrorists
might try to communicate undetected, allowing security agencies to
develop ways of eavesdropping on them. To avoid arousing suspicion, the
method used must be as commonplace as possible, and what could be more
ordinary than seeing someone googling in a cyber cafe? It wouldn't
warrant a second glance, Mazurczyk told a security conference in Prague,
Czech Republic, last month.
So the team turned to Google Suggest to see if it could hide messages.
Google Suggest works by listing up to 10 suggestions each time a letter
is added to a search term, based on the most popular searches made by
other Google users that begin with the same letters. The words offered
change as each new letter is added.
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