I was wondering if anyone is familiar with any historical aspects (as to whether someone was able to) for discovering code using images on the web as a transport method ? As in hiding byte values in pixel data broken up between the component values ?

** Edit** Answer below adds to a good search tree of how hide text but doesn't relate to discovering the ciphertext.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The phrase you want to search for is "steganography". $\endgroup$ Aug 21 '21 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ I think that this is one for @patriot – Paul Uszak $\endgroup$
    – Paul Uszak
    Aug 21 '21 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ Are you after historical facts (say, 20th century and before (there is a tag history for that)? More recent anecdotal facts ? Theoretical aspects ? Also: steganography often does not follow Kerchoff's principle, which makes it hard to discuss it's modern theoretical aspects. And there's enormous difference between practical steganography, and theory. $\endgroup$
    – fgrieu
    Sep 24 '21 at 15:29

Steganography means hiding secret data/msgs inside the bits of the image matrix (as it would be harder to discover they r used as a transferring media in the first place)

The most naive approach would be to just store in the grades of a color accuracy like Black in a high resolution image for example; such naive approaches can be easily discovered by any resize/rotate of the image.

More complicated approaches started to appear in 2000-2005 maybe, I think this one is also about steganography although not in the title "Hiding Secret Messages in Huffman Trees" https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261021203_Hiding_Secret_Messages_in_Huffman_Trees

I even recall articles after 9/11 suspecting that Osama Ben Laden was sending encrypted msgs to his allies thru his broadcasted videos using steganography ( I remember an article entitled "Could Ben Laden be a Steganography Master"? https://www.wired.com/2001/02/bin-laden-steganography-master/ )

Anyways, I don't think the topic flourished as a research area afterwards. I just Googled it now, there are books & explaining dated to 2011, but almost nothing new except 2 papers One in 2019 "An efficient steganographic technique for hiding data" https://joems.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s42787-019-0061-6 One in 2015 "Steganography for inserting message on digital image using least significant bit and AES cryptographic algorithm" https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7577468 (you can find more references inside those papers)

  • $\begingroup$ I like this subject better than studying cnn's which loses me ! $\endgroup$
    – John Sohn
    Aug 23 '21 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ As a POC I divided ciphertext up among the color components lowest sig 3 bits and spaced them out. At 3 bit changes, it is barely visible as different. Thanks for the quick reply ! $\endgroup$
    – John Sohn
    Aug 23 '21 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ What CNN & media study has to do with Cryptography?! & I think I mentioned in my reply that these simplest 1st thought approaches become revealed with any change in scale or rotation or....in the image $\endgroup$
    – ShAr
    Aug 23 '21 at 4:28
  • $\begingroup$ yes I realize that that was more simplistic than what you were likely talking about since anything including huffman is general complex :P ish. however its what people are looking for which forms another part. sure if you post an image from a suspected account someone might inspect that, but the question is how would you find it in an automated fashion ? I don't think a bit difference makes much of a difference visually btw. you couldn't hide MUCH info in a single image, but you could hide some. $\endgroup$
    – John Sohn
    Aug 24 '21 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ Delivery has something to do with it for sure. Enciphering would occur prior to tagging the image. $\endgroup$
    – John Sohn
    Aug 24 '21 at 21:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.