Tuesday, 17 November 2015

carrier buster and crypto payloads

I thought it would be interesting to see how easy it is to put a hidden message into a photograph on the internet. The simple reason is because it is something I might want to do in my novel.

It is remarkably easy and I have done so with the above picture, without using any specialist software.

I have kept the main message 'clear' so that it can be read by anyone who wants to hack the photograph. I could have encrypted it as well, which I suspect would make it quite difficult to spot.

Today is the day that George Osborne presented the Investigatory Powers Bill at GCHQ, and through it HM Government will make sure it has the powers to access vital intelligence about the intentions and activities of those who wish us harm.

The challenge is whether the toolkits used by such enemies of the state become more sophisticated (as in the dark web) and whether the sheer amount of material to be processed rises exponentially.

When the internet was first created, the TCP/IP protocol on which it was based was designed explicitly to be rugged and to withstand attack or disruption. Because it was originally used for sharing limited government computing resource, the original trust mechanisms were sometimes simply paper memoranda.

As the internet progressed it became a vehicle for both good things and bad.

Hence the new national cyber plan being incorporated into the Spending Review with the message that we need to invest to keep up, although I can't help thinking that there will still be ways around the edges of many public systems.

My picture is of a Chinese Dong-Feng 12D carrier-buster missile and includes my friendly message payload. That missile is one step down from the WU-14 that I'm incorporating into the novel.

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