An Introduction to the exFAT File System and How to Hide Data Within

Abstract: In the recent years steganographic techniques for hiding data in file system metadata gained focus. While commonly used file systems received tooling and publications the exFAT file system did not get much attention – probably because its structure provides only few suitable locations to hide data. In this work we present an overview of exFAT’s internals and describe the different structures used by the file system to store files. We also introduce two approaches that allow us to embed messages into the exFAT file system using steganographic techniques. The first approach has a lower embedding rate, but has less specific requirements for the embedding location. The other one, called exHide, uses error correcting to allow for an more robust approach. Both approaches are specified, evaluated and discussed in terms of their strengths and weaknesses.

Julian Heeger Fraunhofer SIT, Germany

York Yannikos Fraunhofer SIT, Germany

Martin Steinebach Fraunhofer SIT, Germany

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