App Delivers Censored Content

By Dennis Fisher  |  Posted 2002-07-08 Print this article Print

Hacktivismo will unveil this week a program that allows Internet users in countries such as China and Cuba to access Web content that their governments have banned.

After more than a year of development and untold confusion over its intentions, Hacktivismo later this week will finally unveil a new application designed to deliver censored content over the Internet. The application, once called Peekabooty, is now known as Camera/Shy and is a browser-based steganography program that can hide data inside GIF images on any Web page. Camera/Shy is designed to allow Internet users in countries such as China and Cuba to access Web content that their governments have banned. Hacktivismo, a small offshoot of the famed Cult of the Dead Cow hacker collective, will introduce Camera/Shy July 13 at the H2K2 Hackers on Planet Earth Convention in New York. The group has been working on the application since early 2001, and there has been much speculation in the hacker/security community over what exactly the program would be.
The software, based on Internet Explorer, uses a technique called Least Significant Bit (LSB) steganography to hide data. Steganography is the art of disguising a message so that its existence is hidden. The LSB method is used to insert the hidden content in the least significant portions of the image. It is one of the faster and easier steganographic methods, but has the drawback of altering the color content of images, which can betray the existence of a hidden message.
The hidden messages are also encrypted using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard encryption. Camera/Shy automatically scans each Web page the user views for hidden or encrypted GIF files. The user then can decrypt and parse the hidden content with one click, according to a release sent out by Hacktivismo. Camera/Shy also automatically clears the machines cache and Internet history. Hacktivismo members said they will release the software under the GNU General Public License. Camera/Shy will run on machines running Windows 95 and later and Internet Explorer 5 and later.

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