A framework for avoiding steganography usage over HTTP Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2012

start page

  • 491

end page

  • 501


  • 1


  • 35

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1084-8045

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-8592


  • Steganographic techniques allow users to covertly transmit information, hiding the existence of the communication itself. These can be used in several scenarios ranging from evading censorship to discreetly extracting sensitive information from an organization. In this paper, we consider the problem of using steganography through a widely used network protocol (i.e. HTTP). We analyze the steganographic possibilities of HTTP, and propose an active warden model to hinder the usage of covert communication channels. Our framework is meant to be useful in many scenarios. It could be employed to ensure that malicious insiders are not able to use steganography to leak information outside an organization. Furthermore, our model could be used by web servers administrators to ensure that their services are not being abused, for example, as anonymous steganographic mailboxes. Our experiments show that steganographic contents can be successfully eliminated, but that dealing with high payload carriers such as large images may introduce notable delays in the communication process.


  • steganography; covert channels; http; active warden; sanitization