SOCIAL MESSAGE RELAY: Using existing social networks to transmit covert messages in public
Strom Carlson, Hardware Security, Researcher, Secure Science Corporation
skrooyoo
datagram
Vidiot

Abstract:
In the age of NSA phone taps, mandatory data retention, CALEA, the PATRIOT Act, and national firewalls, establishing a truly covert communications channel without leaving a trail is becoming almost impossible. Even when strong encryption is used to protect the message, Government agencies now have the ability to use pattern analysis to pinpoint almost all participants in the conversation. Without tremendous diligence, truly anonymous communication is almost impossible.

But what if you could skip having to create the communications channel entirely? What if you could have unwitting, or even willing, third parties spread your message for you? The larger the network of people spreading the message, the more difficult traffic analysis becomes as the signal-to-noise ratio increases. Convenient anonymity for the sender and recipient of the message becomes possible again.

The presenters will demonstrate how they were able to create a publicly available communications channel and use thousands of unwitting participants to spread their encrypted messages. The presentation will also include speculations on how to create networks designed to foil traffic analysis attempts, and observations about the culture of the online cryptographic community, and the nature of collaborative problem solving.

Bio:
Strom Carlson is a hardware security researcher at Secure Science Corporation, the organizer of the Los Angeles area Defcon Groups chapter (DC213), and the co-host of Binary Revolution Radio. He enjoys tinkering with technology, playing with telephones, and having a good time with whatever he happens to be involved in.