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Steganography is the art of hiding a message in plain sight. Modern steganographic tools that conceal data in innocuous-looking digital image files are widely available. The use of such tools by terrorists, hostile states, criminal organizations, etc., to camouflage the planning and coordination of their illicit activities poses a serious challenge. Most steganography detection tools rely on signatures that describe particular steganography programs. Signature-based classifiers offer strong detection capabilities against known threats, but they suffer from an inability to detect previously unseen forms of steganography. Novel steganography detection requires an anomaly-based classifier. This paper describes and demonstrates a blind classification algorithm that uses hyper-dimensional geometric methods to model steganography-free jpeg images. The geometric model, comprising one or more convex polytopes, hyper-spheres, or hyper-ellipsoids in the attribute space, provides superior anomaly detection compared to previous research. Experimental results show that the classifier detects, on average, 85.4% of Jsteg steganography images with a mean embedding rate of 0.14 bits per pixel, compared to previous research that achieved a mean detection rate of just 65%. Further, the classification algorithm creates models for as many training classes of data as are available, resulting in a hybrid anomaly/signature or signature-only based classifier, which increases Jsteg detection accuracy to 95%.


AFIT Scholar furnishes the draft version of this article. The published version of record appears in Digital Investigation and is available by subscription through the DOI link in the citation below.



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Digital Investigation