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Arrests of Alleged Spies Draws Attention to Steganography


Lined butterflyfish with embedded information

Gary C. Kessler

A year ago in April, the government says, the accused operative known as Richard Murphy and his supposed wife, "Cynthia Murphy," booted up a computer in their comfy suburban Montclair, N.J., home. They visited a publicly available Web site and clicked on a picture. It looked innocent enough. It could have been a bunny rabbit, say, or a sunset. Anything at all.

Applying special software, the government says, they coaxed words from the innocuous imagery, a text file. Moscow was calling. A secret meeting in a suburban New York train station was proposed:

"C plans to conduct a flash meeting w/A to pass him $300K from our experienced field station rep (R). Half of it is for you. Another half is to be passed to young colleague (known to you) in fall '09-winter '10. . . .

From The Washington Post
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