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Development of an efficient steganalysis framework for uncovering hidden data in digital media.

Project description

A state-of-art steganalysis for effectively uncovering threats

Steganalysis is a technique long used to identify hidden messages with the use of steganography. Recently, steganography has been increasingly employed and developed by criminals and terrorists who use it to place hidden, innocent-looking messages. Therefore, to investigate dangerous hidden information, today, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) cannot rely anymore on outdated tools. With this in mind, the EU-funded UNCOVER project aims to design, create and evaluate the most advanced solutions for specific LEA needs: fastest, flexible and widely adaptable multiple-case digital tools integrated into a user-friendly platform and the regular criminal investigation cycles. It will also guarantee the best operational qualities with privacy protection and chain-of-custody needs.


Criminals and terrorists use more and more data hiding methods (steganography) for concealing incriminating information in innocent-looking digital media files such as images, video, audio, and text files. UNCOVERs main objective is to fill existing gaps in the ability of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) for detecting the presence of such hidden information (i.e. steganalysis). To carry out a full investigation into criminal and terrorist activities, LEAs currently use available (commercial) tools to detect hidden information in collected digital media. However, these tools detect only a limited number of hiding methods, are slow, and offer no indication of confidence. Moreover, many commercial tools lag a decade behind the scientific state-of-the-art. The members of UNCOVER are committed to bridge these gaps and thus substantially increase the technological autonomy of LEAs in the field of digital media steganalysis. With its consortium of 22 partners including LEAs, forensic institutes, leading researchers working at universities and research institutions, as well as industrial companies, UNCOVER sets out to outperform available steganalysis solutions in terms of performance (number of detectable steganographic methods, detection accuracy), usability, operational needs, privacy protection, and chain-of-custody considerations. The developed detection and investigation tools will be integrated into a flexible and user-friendly platform. End-users play a key role throughout the project cycle: from proposal writing over analysis of user requirements and tools development through the final evaluation. In particular, regular feedback cycles with LEAs, forensics institutes and external stakeholders will ensure that the developed solutions can be integrated into the daily criminal investigation pipeline of LEAs. A set of clearly defined Key Performance Indicators allows an objective evaluation of progress and end results against the defined objectives.

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Net EU contribution
€ 643 381,25
Avenue de la Renaissance 30
1000 Bruxelles / Brussel

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Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale/Arr. Brussel-Hoofdstad
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 643 381,25

Participants (24)