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Oxford student invents secret messaging Facebook app

first_imgThe extension, developed by Owen Campbell-Moore of Keble College, allows users to encode secret messages on pictures uploaded to Facebook. ‘Secretbook’ then dechipers the hidden text for those with the correct password Campbell-Moore told Cherwell, “About a year ago I discovered a really creepy US Air Force grant (af121-050) which was looking for a system to collect and extract meaning from conversations extracted from social media. The thought stuck with me that it is unclear precisely how much access the US government has to private data on social networks and hence better tools really need to exist to facilitate private communication online.” The extension, available from Campbell-Moore’s personal blog, has already been downloaded 7,000 times. A Mashable article covering the story has been tweeted almost 1,500 times.In order to work, both the sender and the recipient must download the extension. Once downloaded any user who has the correct password can access the secret message on the image by pressing ctl+alt+a whilst viewing the correct photo.Campbell-Moore developed the extension last year, in a project supervised by Professor Andrew Ker. Ker told Cherwell, “The app works by modifying a photo, invisibly, to hide a small amount of text (about one tweet), which only a person with the right password can decode. The main challenge in the project was to make sure that the message survives the process of being uploaded, when it is recompressed by Facebook.” In a blog post, Campbell-Moore explained, “The extension utilises a technique known as JPEG Steganography to hide secret messages in photos by making many visually imperceptible changes to encode the secret data.” The post continued, “Steganography tools have traditionally been complicated (and often command line based) so a core goal to this project was to make Steganography easy and accessible so more people can take advantage of the privacy it provides.”The Daily Mail reported that the technology could be used by terrorists. However, Campbell-Moore’s blog stated, “This application is only suitable for casual users and is totally useless for serious applications such as terrorism since detection would not be difficult for organisations such as the NSA.” Facebook were unavailable for comment.last_img read more


A day in the life of…

first_img6.30amThe alarm goes off and I head for the kitchen, where I make myself a cup of tea. The first cup of the day is always the best! Before long, I hear my family up and about. My youngest daughter Caron is a real morning person – must take after her old man.7.15amI leave my house in the Lake District and head for the office on the Wirral. I’m no sooner out of the drive than the phone rings – it’s one of my key account managers calling with good news. We’ve recently conducted trials for a key customer on one of our soft roll concentrates. The results have been extremely positive and we’ve won the business. What a result!I turn on the radio for the news headlines, then switch to Radio 2.9.00amI arrive at the office in record time, despite being bumper-to-bumper along the M6. I start reading my e-mails, when our head of product development drops in. He updates me on a new cake mix we’re developing – it’s looking very promising and we agree the next step is to run a trial with a customer. We’re conscious that consumer demands are constantly changing, which is why we continually seek to innovate and update our products.9.30amI listen to my messages – there’s one from the sales director at one of our major wholesalers. I call him back and he tells me one of our competitors is looking to gain market share in a particular area – something we’re keen to prevent. We discuss how best to tackle this and end the call on a happy note – one of the products we’ve been promoting is selling better than ever. Onwards and upwards!10.00amI grab a cup of coffee on the way to meet the marketing team. Top of the agenda are plans for the launch of our new range of healthier bread ingredients. The range consists of concentrates and dough conditioners that respond to the healthy eating trend, including low-GI, reduced salt, higher fibre and clean label propositions. Research shows us there’s a massive demand for ’bread with bits in’ and this has created a major buzz internally in anticipation of the launch. We’re keen to help bakers remind their customers that bread is good for you and understand the benefits of the healthier options available.Staying with the better-for-you theme, we discuss plans to further promote the Apricot and Raisin Cookie, launched at this year’s IFE trade show, following the success of our Nestlé branded lines, and it’s performing well in terms of both sales and positive feedback. The product appeals to both adults and children as it’s a healthier alternative to traditional sweet treats.11.30pmI start work on a presentation for the next monthly meeting of the European leadership team in Italy. At these meetings we share best practice in terms of product development and new ideas. We’re part of CSM, Europe’s largest bakery supplier, and we like to pool our ideas regularly.12.30pmTime for lunch and I head to the staff canteen, where I bump into my colleagues from other departments. We have a quick chat before I return to my office for an appointment. It’s a hectic day, but I really enjoy being on the go.1.00pmI meet with Julie, one of my key account managers, who is also mentor to the latest trainee joining the company’s graduate training scheme. We plan an induction programme, giving our new recruit a taste of all areas of the business. After two years, he should be ready to join our sales team as a fully fledged account executive.2.30pmI meet with the human resources manager to review applications we’ve received for a vacancy in my team. There are a few promising candidates and we agree to invite them for interview next week.3.45pmI put the finishing touches to another presentation for our national sales conference next week. I’m pleased to see that the figures look healthy – we must be doing something right.4.30pmIt’s time to prepare for a meeting tomorrow with one of our customers in Wales. I’ll be seeing one of my account managers beforehand to review progress.I try to touch base with each member of the team regularly for a one-to-one, to stay informed of their progress. I’m delighted to lead such a closely knit team.5.30pmI leave the office and head home. This is one of the best parts of the day, as I can really relax and gather my thoughts. As I approach the Lake District, I take in a gorgeous view of the fells – perhaps I’ll get my walking boots on and head out there this weekend…7.30pmI arrive home and my wife Jacqueline has prepared dinner. We catch up on the events of the day.My evenings are spent with my family. Tonight, my daughter, Nadia, shows me some of her homework. I don’t remember it being so difficult when I was at school, but then that was some time ago. nlast_img read more