David Megías, director of the IN3 and main researcher of the research group KISON of the IN3, has been invited to join the group of experts in the Criminal Use of Information Hiding (CUIng) Initative that cooperates with Europol European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).
Recently, various types of information hiding techniques (like steganography) are increasingly utilized by the current malware to hide its existence, communication attempts and confidential data exfiltration. This new trend is highlighted by the latest examples of malicious software that have information hiding capabilities, e.g., Hammertoss, Stegoloader, Regin or Duqu. These techniques have been utilized by cybercriminals but were also found useful by spies (e.g., the discovery of the Russian spy ring in US in 2010) and terrorists (arrest of one of al Qaeda's members in Berlin with video files containing hidden information in 2012). Information hiding has been also proved useful as a tool for insiders for sensitive data exfiltration.
Considering the sophistication of the techniques found in the wild the experts believe that now it is a high time to react on an EU-level. That is why the Criminal Use of Information Hiding (CUIng) Initative in cooperation with the Europol European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) has been created. By working jointly and combining experiences from experts from academia, industry, law enforcement agencies, institutions etc. we will be able to tackle the highlighted problem while it is still not so widely-deployed.
The main objectives of CUIng are to: raise awareness, track progress, share strategic threat intelligence, work jointly, and educate & train.