CEPOL Research & Science Conference 2022 MRU, Vilnius

UNCOVER - Towards an efficient framework for uncovering hidden data in digital media
06-08, 14:00–14:20 (Europe/Vilnius), Panel Room III - I-408

UNCOVER – a joint international initiative funded by the EC under the H2020 Research & Innovation program – was launched in May 2021. UNCOVER is end-user-driven and responds to real needs of Law Enforcement Agencies to detect hidden information in innocent looking data (i.e., steganalysis). End-users are involved throughout the project cycle: from the analysis of user requirements and tools development through evaluation. Regular feedback cycles will ensure that the developed solutions can be integrated into the daily criminal investigation pipeline of LEAs. Besides its research activities, UNCOVER has a strong training dimension and over the course of the project, UNCOVER will establish a comprehensive train-the-trainers program for LEAs and forensic institutions, integrating all theoretical findings and solutions developed during the project.
UNCOVER sets out to outperform available steganalysis solutions in terms of performance, usability, operational needs, privacy protection, and chain-of-custody considerations. Project objectives are:
1. Advance the scientific state-of-the-art in steganalysis.
2. Develop, test and evaluate solutions for real-life LEA problems, based on their end-user requirements and expectations.
3. Analyze and implement proper solutions for relevant security, ethical, legal and privacy related concerns.
4. Develop and implement interdisciplinary technical capabilities, capacity and community building.
5. Engage and collaborate with any other relevant ongoing projects and initiatives.
Specific objectives of UNCOVER are to:
1) CONDUCT a detailed analysis about the various aspects of the needs and requirements of LEAs for detecting and investigating steganography.
2) CONSOLIDATE relevant information about existing steganographic tools and centralize this information in an intuitive database for LEAs.
3) IMPROVE existing methods for operational steganalysis in digital media workflows.
4) IMPLEMENT a platform for the integration of steganalysis detection tools.
5) DEMONSTRATE the steganographic detection capabilities with realistic test cases and scenarios delivered by LEAs.
6) ENSURE the obtained results are admissible in European court rules. Assist LEAs with adopting the technology in their daily work.
7) PROVIDE a comprehensive training program for LEAs and forensic institutes by providing in-house training.
8) DISSEMINATE outcomes, communicate the project and prepare an exploitation and sustainability plan.

Researcher & Project Manager │ SYNYO GmbH │ Vienna; Austria

Niklas Hamann is a researcher and project manager at SYNYO GmbH, based in Vienna Austria. He holds a Master Degree in Political Violence from the University of St. Andrews. Niklas has been coordinating and working on and a wide range of EU (HORIZON, H2020, ISF, REC) and national (FORTE, KIRAS) funded projects in the security domain, including:

  • UNCOVER (H2020): Development of an efficient steganalysis framework for uncovering hidden data in digital media.
  • NOTIONES (H2020): iNteracting netwOrk of inTelligence and securIty practitiOners with iNdustry and acadEmia actorS.
  • SHIELD (ISF): solutionS to enHance Interfaith protEction of pLaces of worship from terrorist Danger.
  • Search and Rescue (H2020): Emerging technologies for the Early location of Entrapped victims under Collapsed Structures and Advanced Wearables for risk assessment and First Responders Safety in SAR operations.
  • Re-ACT (REC): Remember and Act!
  • ResilienceWorks (KIRAS): Prevention of radicalisation in labour market integration programmes.
  • AMMONIS (FORTE): Multi modal network detection for information analysis.

At the CEPOL conference, Niklas will present the UNCOVER project, which will provide a toolkit for LEAs to detect and investigate steganography: