Have you ever heard of Steganography? Wikipedia defines it as “the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message…” This method of hiding secret messages in pictures has been around for many years but these days with computers and all that, the methods have become more attainable for the every day person.
One method of putting this art to use is to hide a message within an image. You can send messages to anyone you’d like to without anyone else being the wiser. This could also be used to put together games and puzzles for website visitors or blog readers by hiding messages in specific images allowing people to hunt for the messages. This isn’t the first time the art of steganography has debuted on MakeUseOf – Tina showcased a desktop client for Windows and Jackson wrote about iSteg for Mac; both of these apps can be used for the exact same purpose.
Whatever your reason for hiding secret messages in pictures, you can now do so regardless of your operating system — thanks to a web-based tool offered to us by mozaiq.
While being a site dedicating to helping people turn images into mosaics, if you head to a subdirectory on the site you will see they offer the ability to encrypt messages in images also.
The process is simple: upload an image, type a message, enter a password, click a button and download the image with the message encrypted in it. Sounds easy enough but let’s take a closer look.
Go to mozaiq.org/encrypt. When you do, you are immediately given the fields to begin the process. Off to the left there is an introduction to the art/science of steganography and mozaiq’s encrypting tool. To the left is where all of the action takes.
Choose a picture to upload. Make sure it us under 128KB or it won’t work. Once you have chosen the image, enter the message you would like to share.
Before you go and hit the “Hide Your Message!” button, you can enter a password to further protect the privacy of the message. This is optional and totally up to you.
Once you hit the magic button, you are able to download the image file. Notice that the image will only be available for download for 5 minutes making it imperative that you download it immediately.
Also realize that you can’t change the file in any way other than renaming it. This includes cropping, resizing or even converting it to another file extension. Once you download it, you are able to send it or post it anywhere you please. When you do, make sure the recipient knows to go to mozaiq.org/decrypt in order to see the message.
Try out this image for size:
Right-click and save the image of the cell phone and go to the decryption page. I gave it the password “hello” so you can see how it works. See if you can find out the encrypted message. I think you will find it to be both incredibly enlightening and not that surprising (seeing as though it’s also in one of the screenshots above).
So now that we have a way to hide secret messages in pictures, in a way that will not provoke attention, what ways can you think of to put it to use?