Date of Graduation

12-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Computer Science and Computer Engineering

Advisor

Thompson, Dale R.

Reader

Deaton, Russell J.

Second Reader

Thompson, Craig W.

Abstract

Steganography is the process of hiding a secret message within another message such that it is difficult to detect the presence of the secret message. In other words, the existence of the secret message is hidden. A covert channel refers to the actual medium that is used to communicate the information such as a message, image, or file. This honors thesis uses steganography within the source address fields of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) packets to create a covert channel through which clandestine messages are passed from one party to another. A fully functional computer program was designed and written that transparently embeds messages into the source address fields of packets and decodes embedded messages from these packets across IPv6 networks. This demonstrates the possibility of a covert channel within a protocol that will eventually be the default Internet protocol. This channel could be used for a malicious purpose such as stealing encryption keys, passwords, or other secrets from remote hosts in a manner not easily detectable, but it could also be used for a noble cause such as passing messages secretly under the watchful eyes of an oppressive regime. The demonstration of the covert channel in itself increases the overall information security of society by bringing awareness to the existence of such a steganographic medium.

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