What is steganography?

In our security world, there is a carrier or graphic file that is used to hide messages. There is a double benefit for the confidential need. One is that you can encrypt, and the other is that it is hidden in the first place – slipped in so nobody even knows it is there. It is not really tailor-made for emailing, as there are a couple little extra steps needed in the process that would slow things down. But for top secret messages or very sensitive data that you wanted to get from point A to point B, it could be quite useful as it has been for centuries!

How old is steganography?

Our earliest documentation of this type of security was from Herodotus, the Greek historian from the fifth century BC.


I’ll provide a little history on Herodotus and and example of steganography from that era in my next post.

Experimenting with software:

I downloaded one flavor of free open source steganography software. It was extremely easy and user friendly. I wrote some secret messages and encoded them within pictures.  With a little attention to the settings I could create the picture with the hidden message so that it looked very much like the original.  Using the software one can then decode and pull the hidden message back out from the picture.  You can either write a message with the software or select a file to hide. It defaults to compressing the data with a mandatory passphrase required to decode, but… you can enable encryption as well.  Here is a copy of a picture with a hidden message, which is hidden.  Pretty cool eh.

Oh what Herodotus could have done with today’s software!



Canterbury. (2011, Dec 20). Library Subject Guides. Retrieved Dec 23, 2011, from University of Canterbury:


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