Steganography: A Closer Look

Introductions:

Transferring secret writing messages and codes has been around since the days of the Ancient Greeks. The hidden information was passed from one person to the next using invisible or secret ink when a message was top secret. This method of writing and sending messages in secrecy is called steganography. In the time of war, steganography was and is used among top military personnel in the time of combat, to keep the enemy from knowing what moves are being made. Today, in the world of computer technology, you can find hidden messages or text in picture files as well as in videos and audio files. The technique of hiding secret information is also used as a way of protecting such things as copyright images in a digital watermarking format, which is another method of steganography.

History of Steganography

One of the earliest mentions of steganography was told by Herodotus, who was born in 484 B.C. He related how a secret message was written on a writing tablet under the disguise of wax. The secret message revealed the intentions of the Greek’s enemy, Xerses. During this period of long ago, another method of sending a secret message was through writing a message using a secret ink. The pirates used a method of steganography, their trick to deceive was using tattoos. They would tattoo a map on the scalp of another pirate, letting the hair conceal their secret intentions.

Digital Steganography

Throughout the decades, steganography like everything else in the 21st Century has improved since the beginning era of hidden messages. Steganography has gone from waxy hidden messages and tattoos to microdots as the method of writing in code has evolved. Today, instead of using the tiny microdots, which are not easily made, the new found item on the list is digital steganography, like that found in digital pictures. This improved method of digital pictures, which is made up of thousands of tiny screen dots or bits allow for embedding secrecy in photos.

Physical Steganography

The advantage of secret writing is the fact that a message cannot be detected if it cannot be seen. With Stegangraphy, the whole ides behind the “secret writing” is to keep the hidden message concealed, with no traces left behind for tracking. It is undetectable as well as undecipherable. One method of accomplishing this task is through physical Steganography. One known technique of physical steganography involves shaving the head for tattooing. A second technique involves writing a secret message on a piece of silk. After the message is written, it is balled up tight and wrapped in wax and then the small ball of wax is swallowed.

Detecting Steganography

Many people in society are uninformed and unfamiliar with the term steganography, often confusing the concept with the term cryptography. However, these are two different secret writing methods. For detecting or uncovering hidden messages in steganography, one must use steganalysis and be an expert in the field of computer science to uncover hidden messages that are encrypted or embedded. To uncover the secrets hidden on files, one must be familiar with the term algorithms. There are two types of algorithms that are used to uncover the hidden messages, one being general algorithms and the other called specific. Specific algorithms are used in detecting hidden messages on computer program files. These are easy to detect because the algorithms are on well-known files. However, for general algorithm, detecting becomes trickier because the hidden messages are on unknown program files and data basis.

Examples of Steganography

Showing is better than telling; therefore below you will find samples and examples of hidden messages in steganography. Secret data embedded within data makes it difficult to decipher, but with the right tools, the secret messages can be detected. It is not enough to detect that a secret message is embedded; the trick is uncovering what the secret is stating. Pictures or photo images can have subliminal messages, containing hidden images and texts that are altered to deceive.

 Conclusion

Behind the core of Steganography, its use can either be legal or illegal when in the course of applying the techniques to uncover or embed secrets. It is a bad thing when the techniques are in the hands of criminals, letting them communicate, doing their underhanded activities in secrecy. However, it is a good thing when it comes to supplying national security, keeping an eye on the bad folks and their dealings to keep the world safe. But still, at the same time, when it comes to confidentiality, the whole scope of steganography can be sabotage through theft and when secret information is in the hands of the unauthorized. Like everything else, steganography has its pros and cons when it comes to hidden messages and keeping an eye on society and the people that’s in it.