VoIP network covert channels to enhance privacy and information sharing

Jens Saenger , Wojciech Mazurczyk , Jörg Keller , Luca Caviglione


Information hiding is increasingly used to implement covert channels, to exfiltrate data or to perform attacks in a stealthy manner. Another important usage deals with privacy, for instance, to bypass limitations imposed by a regime, to prevent censorship or to share information in sensitive scenarios such as those dealing with cyber defense. In this perspective, the paper investigates how VoIP communications can be used as a methodology to enhance privacy. Specifically, we propose to hide traffic into VoIP conversations in order to prevent the disclosure, exposure and revelation to an attacker or blocking the ongoing exchange of information. To this aim, we exploit the voice activity detection feature available in many client interfaces to produce fake silence packets, which can be used as the carrier where to hide data. Results indicate that the proposed approach can be suitable to enforce the privacy in real use cases, especially for file transfers. As interactive services (e.g., web browsing) may experience too many delays due to the limited bandwidth, some form of optimization or content scaling may be advisable for such scenarios.
Author Jens Saenger
Jens Saenger,,
, Wojciech Mazurczyk (FEIT / ICS)
Wojciech Mazurczyk,,
- The Institute of Computer Science
, Jörg Keller - University of Hagen (fernuni-hagen)
Jörg Keller,,
, Luca Caviglione - Istituto di studi sui sistemi intelligenti per l'automazione (ISSIA) [National Research Council of Italy (CNR)]
Luca Caviglione,,
Journal seriesFuture Generation Computer Systems, [Future Generation Computer Systems], ISSN 0167-739X, e-ISSN 1872-7115
Issue year2020
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in EnglishInformation hiding; Network covert channel; VoIP; IP telephony; Security & privacy
ASJC Classification1705 Computer Networks and Communications; 1708 Hardware and Architecture; 1712 Software
URL https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1a~g1,3q5xWDvD
Languageen angielski
Elsevier_Mazurczyk.pdf 1.54 MB
Score (nominal)140
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 140.0, 18-09-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus Citations = 0; GS Citations = 1.0; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 2.464; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 5.768 (2) - 2018=5.67 (5)
Citation count*1 (2020-09-10)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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