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.

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    $\begingroup$ The phrase you want to search for is "steganography". $\endgroup$ Aug 21, 2021 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ I think that this is one for @patriot – Paul Uszak $\endgroup$
    – Paul Uszak
    Aug 21, 2021 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, 2021 at 15:29

1 Answer 1


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, 2021 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, 2021 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, 2021 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, 2021 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, 2021 at 21:26

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