In past few years, steganography term attracted attention of law enforcement agencies. This technique was used by hackers to transmit their secret message to other terrorists. Hackers used steganography in 9/11 attack too. So, if you are interested in computer security, you must know about Steganography. In this article, we will cover what is Steganography and tools available for this.
Steganography is the art of hiding a secret message behind the normal message. This is used to transfer some secret message to other person and no interim person will be able to know what the real message which you wanted to convey was. This art of hiding secret messages has been used for years in real life communications. Since the evolvement of digital communication, it has also been used in digital conversations. In computer, it is achieved by replacing the unused or useless data of a regular computer file with the bit of your secret message. This secret hidden information can be a plain text message, cipher text, or image. One can hide information in any kind of file. Usually image, video and audio files are used to hide plain text message or image message. Few tools now allow one to hide files inside an image or audio file.
The main reason for using steganography is that you are hiding your secret message behind an ordinary file. No-one will suspect the file. People will generally think it as an ordinary file and your secret message will go without any suspicion. The file used to hide a message will function normally and you will not suspect just by looking the file. There are various conditions when there is the need of secure transmission of files. Hackers are everywhere and always try to intercept communication to get confidential data. By using Steganography, we can reduce the chance of data leakage. Even if the attacker gets access to your account or email, he will have no clue where is the confidential file in your account.
There are various ways of achieving the steganography in digital communication. However, you do not need to perform coding to achieve this. There are various software tools are available for Steganography. This software can hide your secret message behind the image file, HTML fil, DOC file e or any other kind of file.
Best Stegnography software available free
There are many software available that offer stegnography. Some offer normal stegnography, but a few offer encryption before hiding the data. Few can only hide data behind image, but few can hide data behind any file. Look at these tools and see how they work. I am sure you will surely start using any of these tools for your daily communications in which you want to have some kind of security. There are the steganography software which are available for free:
Xiao Steganography is free software that can be used to hide secret files in BMP images or in WAV files. Use of the tool is easy. You can just open the software, load any BMP image or WAV file to its interface. Then add a file, which you want to hide. It also supports encryption. So, you can select from various algorithms like RC4, Triple DES, DES, Triple DES 112, RC2 and hashing SHA, MD4, MD2, MD5. Select any one from the lost and then save the target file.
To read the hidden message from this file, you will have to use this software again. This software will read the file and will decode the hidden file from it. You cannot extract the hidden file from any other software.
If you need a simple to use but effective Steganography tool, you can try this. This software is available free to download. Check the link given below. CNET is known for offering installation of third-party browser extensions. So, be sure to see what other software and adware this tool is offering along with the installation of Xiao Steganography.
Image Steganography is also a free software for hiding your information in image files. You can hide text message or files inside an image file. Just select the source file in which you want to hide the secret message, and then select the file to hide or write the text message to hide. Select the output image location and then click on start button to start encoding the file. Encoded image will have the secret message inside the image. You can use the decode option of the same tool to decode the hidden file or message from the image.
Download this tool here: http://imagesteganography.codeplex.com/
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Steghide is an open source Steganography software that lets you hide your secret file in image or audio file. You will not notice any change in the image or audio file. However, your secret file will be inside the original image or audio file. It is command line software. Therefore, you need to learn the command to use the tool. Commands will be used to embed files in the image or audio file. In addition, to extract your file from image or audio file, you need to use other command.
See this link to learn how to use this tool: http://steghide.sourceforge.net/documentation.php
This tool was developed many years ago but still works well. It runs only on Windows 32 bit versions.
Download this tool: http://sourceforge.net/projects/steghide/files/
Crypture is another command line tool that performs Steganography. You can use this tool to hide your sensitive data inside a BMP image file. But there is one requirement. BMP file should be eight times larger than the data file which you want to hide inside the BMP file. If you have a small amount of data to hide, you can use this tool. This tool is very small and is only 6KB in size. It does not need any kind of installation.
Download this tool here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/crypture/
SteganographX Plus is another small tool that lets you hide your confidential data inside a BMP image. It also does not need any installation and is of only 496 KB in size. it is simple and offers easy to use interface. You can use this tool to hide your sensitive data inside a BMP file and recover your sensitive data from that file.
You can download this tool from here: http://www.bestfreewaredownload.com/freeware/t-free-steganographx-plus-freeware-yeipgmrk.html
The rSteg is a Java based tool that lets you hide textual data inside an image. It has two buttons: one to encrypt and second to decrypt the text. Just select the image file, enter the PIN, and then enter the text which you want to hide in the image. It will generate a target image file with hidden text inside. If you want to read that text again, use this tool and select decrypt option.
Download this tool here: http://www.softpedia.com/get/Security/Security-Related/rSteg.shtml
SSuite Picsel is a free portable application to hide text inside image file. However, it has a different approach. It uses image file as a key to protect your hidden text inside an image. Don’t be confused. Actually, this tool can hide text inside an image file. Nevertheless, to hide and unhide text inside an image, you need to enter another image as a key. To hide a text inside the image, select image in which you want to hide the text and select another image for key. Now you can hide your text inside the first image. To unhide you text, you need to enter the key image.
Download this tool: http://www.ssuitesoft.com/ssuitepicselsecurity.htm
Our Secret is another similar kind of tool that is used to hide sensitive information in a file. Interface of the tool is divided into two parts. One part is to hide the data in a file and other part is to unhide. You need to select the carrier file in which you want to hide your data. Then select the data or file which you want to hide. Enter the password to encrypt your message and then hide the data in the file. Use the same tool again to unhide the data from the file you created with hidden data.
Download this tool here: http://download.cnet.com/Our-Secret/3000-2144_4-75553911.html
Camouflage is also a nice steganography tool that lets you hide any type of file inside of file. There is no kind of restriction in the software for hiding the file. Use of the tool is also simple and easy. You can just right click on any file and select the option of Camouflage. To extract your sensitive data from the file, right click and select Uncamouflage. You can also set password to encrypt the hidden data inside the file.
Now the project is no longer in development. But you can use the old file for your work. It still performs well and you can use it to hide your confidential data inside an image.
Download this tool: http://camouflage.unfiction.com/Download.html
If you are searching for a steganography tool, OpenStego is another good option. You can attach any kind of secret message file in an image file. You can hide images in BMP, GIF, JPEG, JPG, PNG and WBMP. You can hide data in these files and take output as PNG file. The same software will be used to unhide data from the output file. It also use password to encrypt your data along with hiding inside the image file. This tool is open source and developed on Java.
Download this file: http://sourceforge.net/projects/openstego/files/
SteganPEG lets you hide any kind of file into a JPG image file. You can attach any file and give password to hide inside a JPG File. Only SteganPEG can extract your file from that output JPG image. Output file will act like ordinary image file and one cannot tell that the image was modified just by looking into it. Interface of the software is simple with fewer options. So, one can easily use this tool to hide data into a JPG image file
Download this tool here: http://download.cnet.com/SteganPEG/3000-2193_4-75914262.html
Hide’N’Send is also a small utility which offers steganography feature. It lets you hide any kind of file behind a JPG image file. It supports hashing and encryption too. Therefore, you can hide your date by encrypting. This adds an extra layer of security. Interface of the tool is simple and offers two tabs –one to hide data and other to extract data. You can select the options accordingly. Just run the tool, select the image file, then select the file which you want to hide, select the encryption type and then hide the data the image. Use the same tool again to extract the hidden information in the image.
Download this tool: http://download.cnet.com/Hide-N-Send/3000-2092_4-75728348.html
These are few tools for hiding data inside a file. There are many other free tools on various software hosting websites. However, you will get desired results from these tools.
This technique was developed for secure communication. However, criminals and terrorist organizations also started using this for their communication. Therefore, it is very important to develop a system to detect the Steganography in a file. Nevertheless, there is no easy way to detect hidden file inside a file. You cannot just open the file to see if there is something suspicious. There can be various ways to hide data in file. Therefore, there must be a proper investigation to detect. However, there is also not any easy way to suspect. I will write about cracking steganography in upcoming article in detail.
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Steganography is an effective way of secure communication. You can first encrypt a confidential file and then hide it inside an image of other kind of file before sending it to some other. It will decrease the chance of being intercept. If you just send the file by encrypting, attacker will try to decrypt it by various ways. However, if he will only find a normal image file, he will have no clue. This technique is very easy to use but very difficult to detect. So, it can be used by government organizations to use as the way to send and receive files securely.