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October 10, 2013

CBR cryptography challenge!

'Crypstagram' is a new website aiming to raise awareness of surveillance, but can you answer our question and win the prize?

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Alright, it may not be exactly as advanced as cryptography, but new website Crypstagram enables users to hide a secret code in an Instagram style image.

From there, fellow users, friends or colleagues who have access to the password can decrypt the image and get hold of your message.

In a mission to raise awareness about Internet privacy and data protection, The Barbarian Group has set up Crypstagram to imitate the cool, vintage photo style of Instagram, allowing users to mask their images with filters such as ‘White Noise’ and ‘NSA’.


"The fact that most internet users don’t use encryption to protect their communication is something that can be changed with increased awareness," says Aimee Kvasir, technology director at The Barbarian Group. "We knew a little bit about steganography (via 4chan of all things), and this project was an opportunity to explore that."

Despite the fact that Cryptstagram is a tool, and a fun one at that, the team says the project is more a way to encourage thought and conversastion about surveillance and privacy than a way to actually encrypt important information.

"We create volumes of data every day just browsing the web, texting friends, moving around with a cell phone," Kvasir says. "Privacy protection legislation hasn’t kept up with new technology. It’s still largely the wild west out there with regard to what companies can do with that data."

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I’m not sure exactly how safe it is, but giving credit where it is due, Crypstagram sure seems a novel way of raising awareness about such issues.

"We were more interested in combining the themes of glitch art, government surveillance, and personal cryptography than we were with dictating a message or lesson," says Ben Turner, a developer on the project. "The best we felt we could do was provide a tool for people to play with those themes all in one place, to contribute their own opinions and feelings into a common product: a glitched-out image with hidden messages within."

"From purely aesthetic point of view, glitch art has an inherently subversive feel which felt in line with our intent to subvert existing encryption paradigms," explains Kevin Chan, a senior art director.


Want to try it for yourself? I’ve encrypted a message in this image:


Go HERE and type in the password for your prize (click the image to type password).

But what’s the password?

It’s the answer to this question: What new tablet did I review earlier today?

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