A Novel Covert Communication Method for Efficient Analysis of Network Vulnerabilities

Report No. ARL-TR-5926
Authors: Jaime C. Acosta and John Medrano
Date/Pages: February 2012; 34 pages
Abstract: For an analyst to more efficiently conduct vulnerability assessments on networked systems, it is critical that their threat computer network defense tools work in a distributive fashion. The communication must be covert, unlike encryption, which only makes information unreadable to unintended recipients. In the past, covert communication in unstructured communication networks such as the Internet has been researched extensively; however, methods are still needed for covert communication in structured networks, such as wireless Army systems. In this report we describe the network blending communication system (NBCS) that blends messages with active network traffic in order to bypass an intrusion detection system. We evaluate the NBCS with an experiment and our results show that the method is reliable and that throughput and observable detectability can be parameterized.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2012