Zephyrus: An information hiding mechanism leveraging Ethereum data fields Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2021

start page

  • 118553

end page

  • 118570

volume

  • 9

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2169-3536

abstract

  • Permanent availability makes blockchain technologies a suitable alternative for building a covert channel. Previous works have analysed its feasibility in a particular blockchain technology called Bitcoin. However, Ethereum cryptocurrency is gaining momentum as a means to build distributed apps. The novelty of this paper relies on the use of Ethereum to establish a covert channel considering all transaction fields and smart contracts. No previous work has explored this issue. Thus, a mechanism called Zephyrus, an information hiding mechanism based on steganography, is developed. Moreover, its capacity, cost and stealthiness are assessed both theoretically, and empirically through a prototype implementation that is publicly released. Disregarding the time taken to send the transaction to the blockchain, its retrieval and the mining time, experimental results show that, in the best case, 40 Kbits can be embedded in 0.57 s. for US$ 1.64, and retrieved in 2.8 s

keywords

  • ethereum; information hiding; steganography; blockchain.