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al qaeda’s geek squad August 5, 2007

Posted by KG in tech, terrorism.
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from wired’s threat level blog:

“Neal Krawetz, a researcher and computer security consultant, gave an interesting presentation today at the BlackHat security conference in Las Vegas about analyzing digital photographs and video images for alterations and enhancements.

Using a program he wrote (and provided on the conference CD-ROM) Krawetz could print out the quantization tables in a JPEG file (that indicate how the image was compressed) and determine the last tool that created the image — that is, the make and model of the camera if the image is original or the version of Photoshop that was used to alter and re-save the image.

Comparing that data to the metadata embedded in the image he could determine if the photo was original or had been re-saved or altered. Then, using error level analysis of an image he could determine what were the last parts of an image that were added or modified.

But more interesting were the examples Krawetz gave of al Qaeda images. Krawetz took an image from a 2006 al Qaeda video of Ayman al-Zawahiri (above right), a senior member of the terrorist organization. The image shows al-Zawahiri sitting in front of a desk and banner with writing on it. But after conducting his error analysis Krawetz was able to determine that al-Zawahiri’s image was superimposed in front of the background — and was most likely videotaped in front of a black sheet.

Krawetz was also able to determine that the writing on the banner behind al-Zawahiri’s head was added to the image afterward. In the second picture above showing the results of the error level analysis, the light clusters on the image indicate areas of the image that were added or changed.”

for some reason the first thought that came to mind was these guys sitting around in a cave in afghanistan talking about who downloaded the latest version of photoshop cs

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