Recently I participated in a CTF game which held a number of steganography challenges. This got me really interested in steganography.

From what I understand steganography is most commonly used with images, data hidden in images. this is because images hold so many bytes adding hidden data is easy as it does not distort the disguise enough to be noticed by a human and if the image is fresh and has no other original it cannot be compared to the source image to spot that there is potentially hidden data.

So now on to the main part of the question:

What other digital applications are practical in communicating secret messages using steganography?

If you were constantly sending large pictures of cats to a receiver it might be fairly obvious you are up to something. is there anyway to hide data within web traffic or text messages which does not reduce the integrity of the steganography?

what other crafty ways are there to use steganography? could I encrypted a random normal string and hide an encrypted string within the bytes of another encrypted string, making the first string un decrypt-able but obscuring the secret point?

I am curious in the subject and its other more crafty application.

to narrow it down into one question!:

Are there forms of steganography which don't use media files such as images, sound files or video clips? but follow similarly used methods. e.g. Pictures keep their true meaning but have bytes hidden amongst their own original bytes

  • There's plenty of websites describing steganography in sound files
    – user13695
    Mar 15, 2016 at 12:13
  • I have 2 Python codes that presumably coud well satistisfy your requirements excepting eventually with regards to efficiency in practice: s13.zetaboards.com/Crypto/topic/6939954/1 and s13.zetboards.com/Crypto/topic/7338098/1 Mar 15, 2016 at 13:13
  • [Addendum:] There is a currently actively researched field named network steganography which could provide fairly high stego bitrates but would require sophisticated techniques and hence special knowledge, if I don't err. See arxiv.org/abs/1407.2029. In comparision, my above mentioned schemes are very simple to understand and use for the common users, though having rather low stego bitrates. Sep 8, 2016 at 11:16

2 Answers 2


From what I have seen, steganography is often disregarded within an academic environment. The main reasons would be the low throughput that can be achieved (in terms of the rate (information bits/total bits sent) and the fact that it is closest to encoding than to encryption and thus it relies too much in security through obscurity.

As such, real world applications that implement steganographic approaches (and in that sense, every kind of file can be taken into account: pictures, audio, metadata and non-printable characters in PDF/office files) are most likely to fall within the realm of proofs of concept than an actual product. Just because something is cool and works, it doesn't mean it's the best way to do it.

On the other hand, I would say a lot of interesting research can be focused into detection. Being an actual non-trivial technique, it can be used for covert channel communication, enabling threats like data theft and undetected communication.

  • I agree. Layering several communications into the same communication channel is common. Consider how we interweave packets from different connections on the same data channel. When you embed a message in an image, you are doing essentially the same thing. Mar 15, 2016 at 14:06

no doubt, another name is "secured composing" as I think about it, steganography was frequently used to exchange individual insider facts, plan incognito operations and send political undercover work information.Hidden message could show up in the "document header", here are a few tools that will conceal records inside records.

  • You forgot to name the tools you had in mind. Sep 8, 2016 at 11:19

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