Have you any secrets to keep? Do you wish to hide your important data inside your other media files like audios, videos and images, etc? Do you think we can do such stuff easily in today’s time? Yeah, using steganography to hide data in audio, video and image files. And I am damn sure that some may doubt that such things exist, but my friend, we live in the 21st century where imagination is turning into reality, with each passing day.
So how can we actually perform this? Is it safe to do? What are the advantages and disadvantages of steganography? Well, all these questions would be answered with the help of this article. So, why waste any more time as something interesting is waiting for you!
How To Hide Data In Audio, Video & Image Files: Digital Steganography
Alright, let’s introduce you to the concept known as Steganography, using which anyone can hide his/her secret or confidential information in audio, image or video files easily. Steganography is a word derived from the Greek language, where it basically means covered writing. The concept of Steganography has been there since medieval times and the only change is that today it has got the digital form. You can learn more about the topic on Wikipedia.
Some people also relate Cryptography and Steganography together. But, let me clear this doubt once and for all, that Steganography is an advanced form of hiding data. Under this, the data is shared between the sender and receiver only and there is very less chance of any third party knowing or suspecting of any kind of hidden data inside the files. Under Cryptography, the messages only get encrypted and not obscured. Some programs out there first take the help of Cryptography to encrypt the message and then proceeds to the hiding process.
But, encryption is not a compulsion, instead, you can directly hide your normal messages inside files and send them through mails or any other ways.
Some Applications of Steganography
The main use of the Steganography is to protect your data from outsiders by hiding and sending them through media files which include photos, videos, etc. The next time you want to send someone something confidential, then you can do so by hiding your information in an image and sending it out through the mail. The person on the other end will be able to get the secret information with the help of decryption key only. On the other hand, Steganography can be used for Copyright purposes like watermarking of images, files, etc.
Steganography proves to be quite useful till it’s done for legitimate purposes. But, once people start using it with wrong intentions, things may start falling apart. Well, one can use this concept to hide pornographic content inside images or videos. This is quite wrong, but this is nothing when we compare it to the other wrong use and i.e. the use of Steganography by terrorists to transfer information or instructions among themselves. There have been reports of Terrorists doing such stuff in the year 2001. So, you see this is not a very new concept, instead, it’s been used since a long time for both legitimate and illegitimate purposes.
Guide To Hide Data Using Steganography:
Alright, so we have finally landed to the main part of the article where we will teach you the process of hiding data behind other files present on your system.
There are mainly 2 methods or ways of steganography using which you can secure your data:
1) The Manual Method
2) The Software Method
The Manual Method of Hiding Data Using Steganography
Here, we will be taking a look at Image Steganography. Under Image Steganography, you can hide a message file secretly behind an image. Upon opening the image normally, one will be able to see only the image. But, opening the special way, will lead you to access the secret message.
1) Image File (The File we will be opening)
2) Text File (This will be the secret file which we want to hide)
STEPS TO USE IMAGE STEGANOGRAPHY (MANUAL WAY)
1) First of all, locate and select an image which will be used to hide the other text file. Let’s take example as photo.jpg
2) Proceed by choosing the text file which you want to successfully hide behind the photo. Let’s take example as hide.text
3) (Important Step) Make sure that both of the files are copied and pasted on the desktop.
4) Next, open the command prompt by opening it as an administrator.
5) After that, you have to run the following commands:
Copy /b photo.jpg + hide.txt =oh.jpg
6) Boom! That’s it! You have successfully protected your text file under the image file.
Well, you may now be wondering, that we have taught the process to hide the data, but not shown the way to decrypt the message. Well, don’t worry as we are proceeding to that only!
STEPS TO GET BACK YOUR MESSAGE (MANUAL WAY)
The retrieving of the message is the easiest task. It’s very easy as compared to the hiding of the message file. Anyways, to retrieve the message, all you have to do is, just open the .jpg image file in any text editor. You can make use of Notepad or download a third party text editor like Notepad++. After you have opened the file in the text editor, head to the end of the code. This is where you will find the hidden message written.
HOW TO ADD CRYPTOGRAPHY IN MANUAL WAY
So, you have successfully learned to hide your text files using Image Steganography. But, you may be a little more concerned about the security and thus you may want to encrypt your message also before hiding it under another image file. To do that, just follow the below steps-
1) Like the above steps, first, choose an appropriate image which will act as the opening file (photo.jpg)
2) Next, open your browser and head to md5encription.com
3) It’s time to paste your text into the box to encrypt your message.
4) Copy your encrypted message and locate your secret text file
5) Paste the encrypted text inside the secret file (hide.jpg)
6) (Important Step) Make sure that the opening (image) and secret file are in the same location.
7) Proceed by opening a command prompt as administrator and running the following commands:
Copy /b photo.jpg + hide.txt =oh.jpg
8) That’s it! This should have finally encrypted and hidden your message under the image file!
DECRYPT YOUR MESSAGE
To decrypt the message, all you have to do is just head to md5decryption.com and paste your encrypted text to decrypt it.
This is quite a handy method when you want to work without any external 3rd party software to hide your data. Anyways, like every coin has two sides, this method/way has also got two sides to it.
It’s good to share data while working in LAN, WAN or MAN network
It’s not that easy to break the encrypted message and can be done by the receiver only.
It’s a quite affordable method without the use of any additional programs
Everything is in the hands of the algorithm system and if someone comes to know about the algorithms then the game is over!
The Software Method of Hiding Data Using Steganography
We have finally reached the last part of the guide! Till now we have learned to hide the data under Images only! It’s now time to go a little modern and learn to hide various kinds of files easily and fast by the help of Stegonagraphy tools.
This is a pretty simple and straightforward to use software using which you can easily hide any file inside any file. It can be most of any combination. For example – you can hide 500 MB of video file inside an image file. Once you successfully hid a file, the software will provide you with a decryption key, with the help of which your friend or the receiver will be able to decrypt the file.
2) Xiao Steganography:
This is an amazing tool with the help of which you will be able to hide your files inside BMP images or WAV files. It has got an easy to use and user-friendly interface, where you have to just upload your WAV or BMP file and proceed by adding the secret file which you want to hide. If the receiver wants to decrypt the file, then he/she has to take the use of this software only. No other software will help him to decrypt his file! The software supports encryption algorithms like RC2, RC4, Triple DES, etc.
3) SteganographX Plus:
Do you need a more lightweight and simple to use software to hide your data? Well, if that’s the case, then SteganographX Plus is the ultimate solution to your problem. This software is only 496 KB in size, with the help of which you will be able to hide your secret data files within a BMP image. There’s no need for any additional installation also, just download it once and start using it for free!
That brings us to the end of the article on Steganography. Steganography is quite good for small texts but when it comes to protecting a long list of documents like in the case of a book or a doc file, then this thing may not work well. There’s also Protection factor which you need to take care of. If for once the encryption is broken, then there’s nothing that is more to hide it.
We hope that you have successfully learned to Steganography your files under image, audio and video files. If the article helped you, don’t forget to share it with your friends on social media. Also, don’t forget to comment on your views about this concept.
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