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REVIEW: "Hiding in Plain Sight", Eric Cole

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKHDPLST.RVW 20031205 Hiding in Plain Sight , Eric Cole, 2003, 0-471-44449-9, U$35.00/C$53.95/UK#24.50 %A Eric Cole %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2004
      BKHDPLST.RVW 20031205

      "Hiding in Plain Sight", Eric Cole, 2003, 0-471-44449-9,
      %A Eric Cole
      %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8
      %D 2003
      %G 0-471-44449-9
      %I John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
      %O U$35.00/C$53.95/UK#24.50 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471444499/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471444499/robsladesin03-20
      %P 335 p. + CD-ROM
      %T "Hiding in Plain Sight"

      Part one explores the world of covert communication. Chapter one
      suggests that covert communication is all around us, but weakens its
      case by providing only fictional examples. The author also states
      that he has detected huge numbers of files which contain embedded
      steganographic materials. He doesn't seem to understand that this
      hurts his argument: what good is steganography if you can detect its
      effects? There is a confused and incomplete introduction to
      cryptography in chapter two. To be fair, it does make some good
      practical points, such as the difference between an algorithm and an
      implementation. The basics of steganography are provided in chapter
      three but the explanations and examples may not make clear the
      distinction between steganography and covert channels or codes. The
      definition and illustration of digital watermarking, in chapter four,
      does not present a rationale as to why the invisible marking data
      cannot be removed. The example is confused and unconvincing.

      Part two is supposed to take us into the hidden realm of
      steganography. Chapter five outlines miscellaneous computer crimes
      and intrusions with only the most tenuous ties to steganography,
      fabricated by the author. A list of steganographic programs (almost
      all of the insertion type) are provided without details in chapter
      six. There are more examples of the same illustrations, a couple of
      related programs, and some mislabelled figures (a graphical layout of
      an IP header rather than the promised sniffer example) in chapter
      seven. Cole uses an instance of hiding a virus with steganography,
      but the dangers of inventing your own cases becomes evident: the
      virus, as described, wouldn't work anymore.

      Part three purports to show you how to make your own communications
      secure. Chapter eight lists cryptanalytic and steganalytic
      techniques, but does not delineate them well. A rehash of previous
      ideas and weak examples substitutes for the strategy promised in
      chapter nine: the main illustration has a complete failure of forward
      secrecy. Chapter ten pledges that steganography will get better.

      Although Cole is more entertaining than Katzenbeisser and Petitcolas
      manage to be in their "Information Hiding Techniques for Steganography
      and Digital Watermarking" (cf. BKIHTSDW.RVW), his information is
      sketchy and suspect. In comparison, his work is little more than a

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKHDPLST.RVW 20031205

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur.
      Oh! Was I speaking Latin again? Silly me. Sometimes it just sort
      of slips out.
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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