Ever since the Egyptians developed the hieroglyphs, humans have looked for different ways of encoding information through pictography. Now, Sonic Screwdriver, a company based in the state of Washington has developed an app that encrypts data stored in an image.
The name given to encrypting data and storing it in an image is called steganography. The word steganography combines two Greek words steganos meaning “covered, concealed or protected” and graphein which means “writing.” The encrypted data will appear to be, or be part of the image. To use a real-world example, think of a message written in invisible ink between the visible lines in a letter. Depending on the type of invisible ink used, one would need ultraviolet light to make it visible.
Perhaps a more extreme form of steganography comes from ancient Greece. Histiaeus who was the ruler of Miletus in the 6th century BCE needed to pass on a message to his son-in-law Aristagoras. Histiaeus shaved the head of his most trusted slave, tattooed a message on his head, and then waited for his hair to grow back. The slave was then sent to Aristagoras, who was then instructed to shave the slave’s head again and read the message, which contained an order to revolt against the Persians. It must be one of the few instances where shaving combined to form a set of encryption and decryption keys!
Sonic Coin and Steganography
Sonic’s methods are far more painless and quicker. Sonic comes together with an application called SonicVortex. Using SonicVortex, you take a picture, author a transaction and then use SonicVortex to embed the encrypted transaction in the picture.
The SonicVortex app uses the f5 steganography algorithm, which uses matrix encoding to hide the picture making it almost impossible to detect that there is any hidden communication. The level of encryption is also state-of-the-art that it would be useful for banks and governments. So even in the event that any communication becomes suspected, it is impossible for a foe to ascertain the nature of the communication. This, therefore, provides any communication or data with virtually impregnable encryption.
The kind of encryption used, the AES/GCM protects against any changes to the encrypted hidden transaction. The data that is stored in the picture is, in fact, an encrypted transaction that becomes invalid if either the picture or extracted transaction are tampered with before being processed by the daemon. So you can send a slew of pictures from a specifically designed application on your android device that has the encrypted embedded transactions, and to commercially available detection methods there is nothing out of the ordinary thus masking the transaction.
Stealth addresses provide a secondary keypair with which you can post a stealth address and have it go to the block chain to a unique address. The wallet that created the stealth address also has the first half of the key that can be used with the stealth address to create the send address. The first half of the key allows for the receiver to show ownership of the address without giving away the other transactions that were sent to a particular stealth address.
Proof-of-Stake is designed to secure the network and provide incentive for holding your coins. There are a couple key features to this, coin weight actually starts accumulating the instant the coin hits the address it stakes from, It does this at a rate that works out to 20% per year plus compounding, assuming you keep your coins in your wallet. You need to have at least three days worth of age on the coin for it to start staking, up to 12 days it will continue generating weight and at 15 days you stop generating coin age. Coin age and coin weight play a factor for how much you will stake at a time, so it is beneficial for you to keep your wallets open and staking.
Background on Sonic’s Developer
Sonic Coin’s developer Russel Waters started Sonic Screwdriver in August 2014. His initial goal was to draw a new crowd to the cryptography market. In the first iteration, he began through a cross-promotion of what he thought was a crypto-savvy niche, the Dr. Who fan. After a while, the novelty wore off, and it was at that time that he decided to rebrand and settled on the name Sonic. He lives in the state of Washington.
Russel also has plans to finish qt rebranding, add a tor browser to the wallet, and directly interface the relay needed for the app into the wallet itself. This will allow for the existing steganography app to become more full-featured without requiring as much work for the end user. Sonic is also part of the Blocknet and will, therefore, be able to interface with technology from other blockchains as well.