Spies can send messages hidden in a Google search

Paul Marks

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 plain sight.

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.

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