Steganography is the art of hiding one object inside another object. You can hide a text file or an image file or an mp3 file completely inside another file.

Steganography is widely preferred because the file itself doesn’t look suspicious and hence doesn’t attract people to inspect it.

Why Steganography?

  • If you are publishing an eBook then you can embed a secret code inside your PDF file. If your eBook is posted publicly without your consent then you can easily track and identify the source from where it got leaked.
  • You can use Steganography to pass messages to your friends for fun.People love to hide stuff always and Steganography tools just help you to do that without much pain.
  • You might have got some better ideas by now, so unleash them :-)

Free Steganography Tools

The below Steganography Tools can help you to perform a live demo of what we discussed so far. The word Magic is useless without a real performance and in the same way Steganography is useless unless you try it, so let’s run the show.

Steghide

  • Download and extract the steghide-0.5.1-win32.zip (1.73 MB) file.
  • Steghide is a command line executable that you have to run from your command prompt.
  • Launch Run window (windows key + R), type CMD and press Enter.
  • Navigate to the path where you have extracted the Steghide files.
  • Before you proceed further ensure that you have placed two files in the folder where you have extracted Steghide: An image file and a text file with your secret message in it.
  • Now in command prompt enter the below command:

steghide.exe embed -cf ProfilePic.jpg -ef ArticPostSecretMessage.txt

You will be asked to enter a passphrase, without this passphrase you won’t be able to extract the message back so make sure you don’t lose it.

-cf is the cover file that is used for embedding the data and supports AU, BMP, JPEG or WAV formats only.

-ef is the embed file that contains the secret message.

  • Also while embedding ensure that the cover file size is greater than the embed file else you will get the below message:

steghide: the cover file is too short to embed the data.

The message in the ArticPostSecretMessage.txt will be now hidden into ProfilePic.jpg.

Steganography Tool Output

  • Now send the picture to your friend and ask him to extract the message from the picture with the help of the below command:

steghide.exe extract -sf ProfilePic.jpg

He needs Steghide and the correct passphrase in order to extract the message that is inside the image.

If you are looking out for a GUI based tool then you could probably try OpenPuff.

OpenPuff

  • OpenPuff is a portable application which is much more powerful than Steghide and has an User Interface to make things easier.
  • Download (5 MB) and extract the OpenPuff.zip file.
  • Double click and run the OpenPuff.exe file.
  • Click the Hide button under the Steganography section.

OpenPuff Steganography Tool

  • STEP 1: You actually have to enter 3 passwords which provides higher security level for your data but you can skip them by unchecking the checkbox Enable (B) and (C)
  • STEP2: The maximum size of the file that has your secret message cannot exceed 256 MB. Select the file that has your secret message by clicking the browse button.
  • STEP3: Carrier Selection is the file that will actually hold your secret message. You can also add multiple carriers and your secret message will be split across all those carriers. Unless you provide all the carriers in the correct order you won’t get the original message back, so make sure you remember the order too.

Steps to hide data in OpenPuff

  • Click Hide Data! button. Select a folder where you would like to have the resultant files that has your secret data.
  • The Add Decoy button will help you to mislead someone who forces you to provide the password, which is something similar to TrueCrypt hidden volume.

To unhide the secret message follow the below steps:

  • Click the UnHide button under the Steganography section.
  • Enter the password and make sure to uncheck the checkboxes Enable (B) and (C) if you haven’t given them during message hiding.
  • Select the carrier file that has your secret message and click Unhide button.

Steps to unhide data in OpenPuff

Specify the output path where you want your secret message to be extracted and viola there you have it!!!

So have you ever used Steganography?