For those that don't know what steganography is, I will explain. Steganography is where we take some form of media, subtly alter it to encode a message, so that it can be transmitted unobserved. To many in the code breaking community, this is things like altering the bits of a digital image so that it doesn't change the image, but can be transmitted and that information retrieved at the other end. Today, I will discuss a different form of steganography, one that is based upon linguistics and then extend this to deal with hyper-convergence. Hyper-convergence, in this sense, is a form of compression that merges multiple streams of information together and will only make sense if you 'get' the context. We'll also talk about the mental effect such a cipher has, things like a post-hypnotic quality and laying the foundations for psychosis.
Let's get straight into this with a worked example. Take a look at the following picture:
What if I told you this was a code? Would you get it? Actually, I know your response to what this will mean will be solely based upon what the elements of this picture mean to you. It won't convey what it means to me, unless I provide further context. Now, let's decode this a little, let's assume you're a detective. You build a word and phrase cloud of the ideas it brings to mind like this:
Dog - bone - fetch - lead - reward - loyal
So, the mind presumes, or infers, initially in the context of self. In this case, you're a detective, so the concept chain may say to you that someone is indicating that this is a tip-off.
Now, let's lose that ego a little, take a walk in the shoes of someone else, change your perspective or your point of view and re-examine this image:
Dog, leash, Bone, something to keep you occupied, slavery, owner, master
Quite a change in context, isn't it? This is hyper-convergence. In this one image, I have sent two completely different messages that are interpreted dependent on factors such as emotion, previous observed content, things in the local environment, etc.
What would happen if you were brain damaged, didn't know certain words/meanings, or subject to highly specific electrical jamming of the brain?
Would you miss a context or potential sub-context? Would you take the message out-of-context?
Would you develop false beliefs, if the pattern continued?
Its easy to see how a message of friendship, could mask an attack, or visa-versa. Developing false beliefs as a result of ambiguity, or failure to spot a pattern is common, but when we extend this to large group, over a large period of time, a psychosis emerges.
This is a very simple example, but with modern computer technology, the web and feedback, it can be extended to entire populations. An attack pattern would inject a system with conspiracy, guided by well thought out simple to grasp narratives to tear a nation apart. Take Skyfall for example, on its own we wouldn't give this scene a second thought, but when placed in the context current online activity (i.e. fake news, flooding of conspiracy theory, etc.) with similar underlying themes, its not hard to understand why people are thinking they are under attack:
Is this next video a political statement? A foreign nation? It does tend to suggest some foreknowledge of current events, which implies planning, some form of deep analytics or both. Again, on its own it means nothing, but when placed in the context of other timely movies such as 'The Baby Boss', the word and phrase cloud that emerges points to Trump.
With RNM sitting over our heads, brain mapping, jamming and attempting remote animation, is this some form of blackmail? References to his personal or professional life to keep him quiet or under control?
Similar language is emerging from the US, Russia and UK. But does everyone understand that RNM's data is useless and given the nature of this problem, no one cares, as we all have had enough.