Arrests of alleged spies draws attention to long obscure field of steganography

A year ago in April, the government says, the accused operative known as Richard Murphy and his supposed wife, “Cynthia Murphy,” booted up a computer in their comfy suburban Montclair, N.J., home. They visited a publicly available Web site and clicked on a picture. It looked innocent enough. It could have been a bunny rabbit, say, or a sunset. Anything at all. Applying special software, the government says, they coaxed words from the innocuous imagery, a text file. Moscow was calling…

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