Exploring steganographic channels in Minecraft-like computer games

Supervisor(s)Olaf Markus Köhler, MSc


A multiplayer game, such as Minecraft, can be used as general purpose communication channel. Besides using the channels intended for communication (such as a common chat), less obvious signals shared between players may be used to transmit information.

  • Research Task: Explore and describe possible channels that can be used for covert communication. Identify multiple covert channels, describe their impact on the gameplay and user experience.
  • Performance Analysis: Reason about theoretical bounds. Compare this to empirical measurements of the data rate and error rate using a simple implementation of one selected channel. Evaluate the computational effort for sending and receiving.
  • Security Analysis: For steganographic communication, the observable communication has to be indistinguishable from “data” produced by typical gaming behavior. Reason about the complexity of modeling “typical data”, feasibility of replicating “typical data”, and its impact on performance. Choose one channel, collect relevant data that is typically produced by regular gaming and adapt your transmission to match the model.

You are expected to hand in your thesis including the software source code.


  • Zander, S., Armitage, G., and Branch, P. Reliable transmission over covert channels in first person shooter multiplayer games. In Local Computer Networks, 2009. LCN 2009. IEEE 34th Conference on. IEEE, 2009, pp. 169–176.
  • Fridrich, J. Steganography in digital media: principles, algorithms, and applications. Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Hahn, B., Nithyanand, R., Gill, P., and Johnson, R. Games without frontiers: Investigating video games as a covert channel. arXiv preprint arXiv:1503.05904, (2015).