Hiding Information in Digital and Physical Objects
Prof. Mikhail Atallah, Purdue University
3:30 p.m., September 23, 2021 | 102 DeBartolo Hall
Information hiding, the embedding of a secret message in an object (called the “cover”) is thousands of years old. It was initially used to covertly communicate using messengers who traveled through enemy territory where they were at risk of being stopped and searched, in which case it was important for the very presence of the secret message to be undetectable. Modern information hiding has broadened beyond such covert communication and is used for myriads of other purposes.
This talk will give an overview of information-hiding and the practical applications thereof. Techniques for the major different types of digital and physical cover objects will be discussed, together with the problematics of hiding information in each, the progress made, and remaining challenges. The cover objects considered include those destined for consumption by the human perceptual system (e.g., images, video, audio), the human cognitive system (e.g., natural language text), or a machine that processes it (e.g., relational data, software, DNA, machined or 3D-printed physical parts). The talk will be self-contained and assume no prior background in this area.
Mikhail Atallah earned a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University in 1982, and immediately joined Purdue as an assistant professor of computer science. He was named associate professor in 1986, full professor in 1989, and distinguished professor in 2004. A fellow of both the ACM and IEEE, his work on key management received the 2015 CCS Test of Time Award. He was the recipient of many Purdue awards, including the 2017 Arden L. Bement Jr. Award, the most prestigious award Purdue bestows in pure and applied science and engineering; the 2016 Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award; and the 2013 Outstanding Commercialization Award. In 2001 he co-founded Arxan Technologies Inc, to commercialize a software protection technology developed jointly with his doctoral student Hoi Chang (in 2020 Arxan reported 5+ billion deployed instances on protected applications “across many industries including financial services, mobile payments, healthcare, automotive, gaming, and entertainment”). He was CTO of Arxan Technologies and Chief Scientist for its defense subsidiary, Arxan Defense Systems. Arxan Defense Systems was acquired in 2010 by Microsemi Corporation, and Arxan Technologies was acquired in 2013 by private equity firm TA Associates. Arxan has been a case study in at least 5 of the top business schools’ MBA programs. Prof. Atallah has won many teaching awards, including Outstanding Teacher of the Purdue College of Science, and was selected for membership in Purdue’s Teaching Academy and inclusion in Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers (a permanent wall display of Purdue’s best teachers past and present).