One of the classic ways to smuggle information out of a watched network is to encode the data in the time delays between packets that are sent.
Vincent Berk, Annarita Giani, and George Cybenko at Dartmouth College just published a technical report with techniques for ferreting out the use of such covert channels.
The problem with these channels, as the paper notes, is that they do not carry a lot of information. The advantage, of course, is that they are nearly invisible to most network managers.
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