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How to Encrypt and Hide Your Personal Files Inside of a Photo

Have secret plans to take over the world that you don’t want anyone to be able to read? Encrypt those precious bytes with a custom password before disguising them as an ordinary picture that could fool anyone.

Head over to the developer’s website and grab yourself a copy of the portable app.

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Once the download has completed, extract it.

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A donation screen will appear, click on the skip donation button to launch the application.

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The application asks for a the file that you wish to hide, a JPEG image in which to hide the file, as well as a path were the new image will be outputted.

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On the right hand side check the box to allow you to use a custom password to encrypt the file with, and type in a password.

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Hit the large camouflage button to start hiding your files.

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Now when you look at the file in explorer, you will see that it has a much bigger file size but the new file will still open like an ordinary image. The size that the file increases by will obviously vary depending on what you are hiding.

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To get your file back, switch to the de-camouflage tab, select your picture, remember to check the box and input the same password you used to encrypt the file. If you use the wrong password your file will not be able to be decrypted, and you will get an error message like so.

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However if you supply the right password, your files will be extracted to the directory that you specified.

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Besides the obvious increase on file size there is no way that anyone would be able to tell that there was any hidden contents in the image.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 10/27/11

Comments (20)

  1. Donate If You Use It

    You forgot the last step – go back and click the donate button!

  2. Irish_IT

    This seems a bit useless when you put it up against products like TruCrypt……maybe it is just me? lol

  3. Larry_Jones

    Me just browsing files. Dit Dit Dit Dit da. Oh 91.6 MB for a jpeg? Seems legit.

  4. Blob

    If someone gets your encrypted data they will see the encryption, therefore their interest in it might increase and try to decrypt.
    But if your data is hidden in an ordinary picture they won’t even notice that you’re trying to hide something.

  5. twjolson

    Love the How-To Geek articles.

    One correction. This isn’t encryption, it’s stenography. Encryption is obscuring a message, anyone that comes across the message will know something is there, even if they can’t decipher it. This is more like stenography which is hiding the message so no one will even know it is there.

  6. Foobar

    @twjolson:
    Steganography…. not stenography… :-)

  7. Brad

    You can do this for free with winrar or pkunzip and using the Windows copy command.
    http://www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/hide-file-in-picture/

  8. A

    hmm… reminds me of the book Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card. One of the charachters sent a help message via a picture.

  9. tommy2rs

    Large size jpeg files are a dead giveaway. It would be better if it used tiff as those files tend to be large anyway. Then there’s the ability to do the same thing from the command line using something like the following:

    copy /B source.gif+source.zip target.gif

    Here’s a link with better info on command line steganography than I can give you.

    http://www.windowhaxor.net/?p=177

  10. ciree

    You can use truecrypt and use a .tmp/dmp/log extension, no one will question why the file is so large. But you have to be careful if programs such as CClearner catches it.

  11. Adamboy7

    If you incrypt alot of files, put them together into a gif (a giant one, but a gif none the less), would you be able to get all the files from the gif? And also, if you upload the picture to a website, can you copy and paste from the web page, then un incrypt it? (You know, when yahoo only allows 25 MB, or your jump drive went through the washing machine.)
    Thanks so much,
    Adam

  12. meatloaf

    how large is the file you put behind the picture? hat extension was it?

    i think if you put notepad files behind it, you wont have that much trouble with large filesizes.

  13. heyMac

    This seems better if used only to hide files like notepad, word and excel. Small size so it won’t make that much of a difference to the image. Maybe to hide a password list or contact details.

  14. vgamesx1

    @Irish_IT
    how can this compare to something like TruCrypt, you know.. a program geared toward encrypting your harddrive.
    while this would not only encrypt a file it would also make it basicly invisible to most people.

  15. cerec

    You can do the same with TruCrypt. Rename file already encrypted with TruCrypt adding any extension like .jpg and, when you mount the file TruCrypt will give you a warning. Ignore the warning.

  16. trm96

    If you are über worried about hiding files you would want to use a blended attack. Say you have your plans for taking over the world (evil_plot.txt) you could first rar the file but split into two files (using the file split feature in WinRAR) and naturally encrypt it using a strong password. So now you have the single file encrypted into the files say their names are “foo.rar” and “bar.01″ next you would want to use the above method to further encrypt the data as well as hide the now two rar files inside tow different pictures. And thus you have a file that for all intensive purposes is very well secured, albeit a lot of work to make it such…

    BTW there are more you can do to further hide the original file but I will not go into it.

  17. Joshua

    People talking about TrueCrypt:

    1) Hide this tool in a TrueCrypt Volume
    2) Hide the stenographed files in a seperate TrueCrypt volume

  18. Micky

    Alternatively, you could hand-write it on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope and stick it behind a picture on the wall,

  19. don

    meka patta oi. budu athal

  20. MrCMTS

    Isn’t there a integrated software, where you can just lock a folder within Explorer, and unlock it in explorer, without having to open a program

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