Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hiding secret messages in email jokes

Date:
March 12, 2013
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
It is possible to hide secret messages in simple jokes, according to new research.

Encrypting a message with a strong code is the only safe way to keep your communications secret, but it will be obvious to anyone seeing such a message that the sender is hiding something, regardless of whether they are encrypting their emails for legitimate or illicit purposes. Steganography on the other hand can hide a secret message in plain sight. Often a message is secreted within the binary strings of 0s and 1s in a compressed image or music file format. Prying eyes see only the original image or hear the song, whereas the recipient, knowing that a message is within uses software to extract it. Nevertheless, a putative interception might still take place; this kind of disguise also has the problem of requiring large file sizes.

Related Articles


An alternative to such steganography would be to hide a message in plain sight within a plain text document. Unfortunately, despite the much smaller file sizes that would be possible, secreting a message within normal text usually disrupts the grammar and syntax or the spelling and so immediately looks suspicious. Now, an approach that is far less obvious and is tolerant of poor grammar has been developed by computer scientist Abdelrahman Desoky of the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, USA and is described in the latest issue of the International Journal of Security and Networks.

Desoky suggests that instead of using a humdrum text document and modifying it in a codified way to embed a secret message, correspondents could use a joke to hide their true meaning. As such, he has developed an Automatic Joke Generation Based Steganography Methodology (Jokestega) that takes advantage of recent software that can automatically write pun-type jokes using large dictionary databases. Among the automatic joke generators available are: The MIT Project, Chuck Norris Joke Generator, Jokes2000, The Joke Generator dot Com and the Online Joke Generator System (pickuplinegen).

A simple example might be to hide the code word "shaking" in the following auto-joke. The original question and answer joke is "Where do milk shakes come from?" and the correct answer would be "From nervous cows." So far, so funny. But, the system can substitute the word "shaking" for "nervous" and still retain the humor so that the answer becomes "From shaking cows." It loses some of its wit, but still makes sense and we are not all Bob Hopes, after all.

Other examples where substitutions are possible might include the equally funny: What do you get when you cross a car with a sandwich? A traffic jam, which might use a well-known sandwich bar brand, "Subway" as an alternative answer. Similarly, Where is Dracula's American office? The answer being the Vampire State Building. The question could be substituted as Where is Dracula's American home? With the same answer. There are endless puns any one of which might be used in a similar setting. A collection of such jokes sent in a message with the non-obvious answer substituted for the wittier version could conceal a message using Jokestega. Desoky suggests that 8 bits of data might be hidden in a simple joke of the type discussed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Abdelrahman Desoky. Jokestega: automatic joke generation-based steganography methodology. International Journal of Security and Networks, 2012; 7 (3): 148 DOI: 10.1504/IJSN.2012.052529

Cite This Page:

Inderscience Publishers. "Hiding secret messages in email jokes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312134922.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2013, March 12). Hiding secret messages in email jokes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312134922.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Hiding secret messages in email jokes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312134922.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

HP to Buy Aruba Networks in $3B Deal

HP to Buy Aruba Networks in $3B Deal

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) Hewlett-Packard is boosting its mobile computing business... buying California-based Aruba Networks- a wi-fi network gear maker for $24.67 per share. Leah Duncan reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Curved Screen Give Samsung the Edge?

Can Curved Screen Give Samsung the Edge?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) South Korea&apos;s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled its latest Galaxy S smartphones, featuring a slim body made from aircraft-grade metal, in a bid to reclaim the throne of undisputed global smartphone leader from Apple Inc. Hayley Platt reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Giants Unveil Latest Models at Technology Show

Smartphone Giants Unveil Latest Models at Technology Show

AFP (Mar. 2, 2015) Mobile providers have been unveiling their upcoming models at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, showing off the latest in smartphone technology. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mobile World Looks to 5G

Mobile World Looks to 5G

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) The wireless industry&apos;s annual conference gets underway in Barcelona with 85,000 executives taking part and numerous new smartphones and watches being launched. As Ivor Bennett reports from the show the race for 5G is one of the key themes. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins