Terrorists Could Use Google's Suggested Words to Communicate Secretly

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You know when you Google something like "George Bush is..." and Google suggests things along the lines of "a lizard," "gay" and "an idiot"? These suggestions could be used as a way for spies and terrorists to communicate.

Warsaw University of Technology's professor Wojciech Mazurczyk has studied the possibilities of using Google's suggested terms in order to communicate, and found it would be far easier and less risky than other methods. All that would be needed is to infect one computer with a piece of malware they named StegSuggest, which adds a word to suggested words.

As terrorists or spies wouldn't want to attract too much attention, they could choose from a list of 4,000 of the most popular English words to be added to the suggested phrases, so they don't stand out too much. Once compared to a codebook that the two parties possess, they will then be able to locate which word it is, and which10-bit binary number it correlates with, which can then be put into a separate program to reveal exactly what message that word is hiding.


It's a convoluted process, sure, but are governmental technologies advance and security-enforcers get better at recognizing threats, it's not surprising that this could be used as a way of communicating evil deeds. I'm not quite sure why Mazurczyk is willingly offering up this idea, but at least it'll give those suits something to think about when they munch on their sandwiches. [New Scientist]