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Hide In Plain Sight

One of the more interesting topics I've found is the subject of steganography. Digital steganography, more particular, is done usually with images. One particular online comic I read recently had its creator using steganography for hiding spoilers to the upcoming storyline. However the methods are so varied that, without knowing any particular technique, it's just as well impossible to know how a message is hidden in a digitally steganographed image. There's apparently 725 different variations according to the Wikipedia article on it; the programs I found when originally learning about it is JPHIDE/JPSEEK. However, for simple things, I accidentally stumbled upon a different way of doing it entirely that I hadn't thought of before. 

Years ago, I found a program that was designed for aiding the blind with using computers, by using a method to convert the screen into sweeping sound data to piece it together. It would require some training, of course, but it was a rather interesting software. I unfortunately lost it and the name of it, though, so I don't know whatever happened to it. I decided, though, to look for something similar, more for the goal of looking for audio clues for composing music. I came upon a program called AudioPaint, which for most stuff I tried came up with just noise, simply for the way the algorithm works. I however, plugged in a PNG I have of the actual look of Spiral Island (not the in-game map), and it created a nice, clear tone. 

I sat and played with the options for a bit and got a few different results, and as I was combining things in GoldWave to come up with a sound effect, I noticed that the spectrogram had an odd look to it. So I used another program I found mentioned along with AudioPaint, Sonic Visualizer, to open it up one of the saved files and look at it the complete spectrogram. The results were rather impressive:

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I found that pretty cool, myself. It is the exact image I used, as an audio file. Obviously not terribly encrypted, but still steganographic. That file itself sounds like a kind of warping sound effect, so unless you looked at it with a spectrogram you wouldn't suspect it was an image there.

Date posted: 11 September, 2009
Tags: software
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