Best tools to perform steganography [updated 2020]

Pavitra Shankdhar
July 8, 2020 by
Pavitra Shankdhar

In the past few years, the term “steganography” has attracted the attention of law enforcement agencies. This technique has been used by hackers to transmit their secret message to others. Steganography was used by attackers in the 9/11 attack as well. 

If you are interested in computer security, you must know about steganography. In this article, we will cover what steganography is and the tools available for this.

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Steganography is the art of hiding a secret message within a normal message. This is used to transfer some secret message to another person; with this technique, no one else in between will know the secret message you wanted to convey.

This art of hiding secret messages has been used for years in real-life communications. Since the evolution of digital communication, it has also been used in digital conversations. 

On a computer, this is achieved by replacing the unused or useless data of a regular computer file with your secret message. This secret hidden information can be a plaintext message, ciphertext or image. One can hide information in any kind of file: common choices include images, video and audio files, which can be used to hide plaintext or image messages. There are now specific tools available for this purpose.

The main reason for using steganography is that you are hiding your secret message within an ordinary file. No one will suspect the file and your secret message will go undetected. The file used to hide a message will function normally.

Secure transmission of files is often very important. Hackers are everywhere and always try to intercept communications to get confidential data. By using steganography, we can reduce the chance of data leakage. Even if the attacker gets access to your account or email, he will have no clue where the confidential file actually is.

There are various ways of executing steganography in digital communication. However, you do not need to perform coding to achieve this. There are various software tools available for steganography. This software can hide your secret message behind the image file, HTML file, DOC file or any other kind of file.

Best steganography software available free

There are many programs that offer steganography options. Some offer normal steganography, but a few offer encryption before hiding the data. A few can only hide data within the image but some can hide data within any file. 

Look at these tools and see how they work. I am certain that you’ll find an option here to assist in your daily communications where you want some form of security.

There are many software available that offer stegnography. Some offer normal stegnography, but a few offer encryption before hiding the data. Few can only hide data behind image, but few can hide data behind any file. Look at these tools and see how they work. I am sure you will surely start using any of these tools for your daily communications in which you want to have some kind of security. There are the steganography software which are available for free:

Xiao steganography

Xiao Steganography is free software that can be used to hide secret files in BMP images or WAV files. Using the tool is easy: you can just open the software and load any BMP image or WAV file to its interface. Then add a file you want to hide. 

It also supports encryption. You can select from various algorithms like RC4, Triple DES, DES, Triple DES 112, RC2 and hashing SHA, MD4, MD2 and MD5. Select any one from the list and then save the target file.

To read the hidden message from this file, you will have to use this software again. This software will read the file and will decode the hidden file from it. You cannot extract the hidden file with any other software.

If you need a simple but effective steganography tool, you can try this. This software is available free to download. Check the link given below. 

CNET is known for offering installation of third-party browser extensions. Be sure to see what other software and adware this tool is offering along with the installation of Xiao Steganography.

Download here.

Image steganography

Image Steganography is another free program for hiding your information in image files. You can hide text messages or files inside an image file. Just select the source file in which you want to hide the secret message and then select the file to hide or write the text message to hide. Select the output image location and then click on the start button to start encoding the file. 

The encoded image will have the secret message inside the image. You can use the decode option of the same tool to decode the hidden file or message.

Download this tool here.


Steghide is open-source steganography software that lets you hide your secret file in an image or audio file. You will not notice any change in the image or audio file. However, your secret file will be inside the original image or audio file. 

This is command-line software. Therefore, you need to learn the commands to use the tool. Commands will be used to embed files in the image or audio file. In addition, to extract your file from the image or audio file, you need to use another command.

See this link to learn how to use this tool.

This tool was developed many years ago but still works well. It runs only on Windows 32-bit versions.

Download this tool here.


Crypture is another command-line tool that performs steganography. You can use this tool to hide your sensitive data inside a BMP image file. But there is one requirement: the BMP file should be eight times larger than the data file you want to hide inside the BMP file. If you have a small amount of data to hide, you can use this tool. 

This tool is very small and is only 6KB in size. It does not need any kind of installation.

Download this tool here.

SteganographX Plus

SteganographX Plus is another small tool that lets you hide your confidential data inside a BMP image. It also does not need any installation and is of only 496 KB in size. 

This is simple and offers an easy-to use-interface. You can use this tool to hide your sensitive data inside a BMP file and recover your data from that file.

You can download this tool from here.


rSteg is a Java-based tool that lets you hide textual data inside an image. It has two buttons: one to encrypt and second to decrypt the text. Just select the image file, enter the PIN and then enter the text which you want to hide in the image. It will generate a target image file with the hidden text inside. If you want to read that text again, use this tool and select the decrypt option.

Download this tool here.

SSuite Picsel

SSuite Picsel is a free portable application to hide text inside an image file. However, it has a different approach. It uses the image file as a key to protect your hidden text inside an image. 

Don’t be confused. Actually, this tool can hide text inside an image file. Nevertheless, to hide and reveal text inside an image, you need to enter another image as a key. To hide text inside the image, select the image in which you want to hide the text and select another image for the key. Now you can hide your text inside the first image. To reveal the text, you need to enter the key image.

Download this tool here.

Our Secret

Our Secret is another tool that is used to hide sensitive information in a file. The interface of the tool is divided into two parts: one part is to hide the data in a file and the other part is to reveal. 

You need to select the carrier file in which you want to hide your data. Then select the data or file you want to hide. Enter the password to encrypt your message and then hide the data in the file. Use the same tool again to reveal the data.

Download this tool here.


Camouflage is another steganography tool that lets you hide any type of file inside of a file. There is no kind of restriction in the software for hiding the file. 

Use of the tool is simple and easy: you can just right-click on any file and select the Camouflage option. To extract your sensitive data from the file, right-click and select Uncamouflage. You can also set a password to encrypt the hidden data inside the file.

The project is no longer in development, but you can use the old file for your work. It still performs well and you can use it to hide your confidential data inside an image.

Download this tool here.


If you are searching for a steganography tool, OpenStego is another good option. You can attach any kind of secret message file in an image file. You can hide images in BMP, GIF, JPEG, JPG, PNG and WBMP. 

You can hide data in these files and take output as a PNG file. The same software will be used to reveal data from the output file. It also uses a password to encrypt your data along with hiding inside the image file. This tool is open-source and developed in Java.

Download this file here.


SteganPEG lets you hide any kind of file in a JPG image file. You can attach any file and give a password to hide inside a JPG file. Only SteganPEG can extract your file from that output JPG image. The output file will act like an ordinary image file and one cannot tell that the image was modified just by looking at it. 

The interface of the software is simple with fewer options. One can easily use this tool to hide data in a JPG image file

Download this tool here.


Hide’N’Send is a small utility which offers steganography. It lets you hide any kind of file behind a JPG image file. It supports hashing and encryption too. This means that you can hide your data by encrypting. This adds an extra layer of security. 

The interface of the tool is simple and offers two tabs — one to hide data and other to extract data. You can select the options accordingly. Just run the tool, select the image file, then select the file which you want to hide, select the encryption type and then hide the data in the image. Use the same tool again to extract the hidden information in the image.

Download this tool here

These are a few tools for hiding data inside a file. There are many other free tools on various software-hosting websites. However, you will get desired results from these tools.

This technique was developed for secure communication. However, criminals and terrorist organizations also started using this for their communication. Therefore, it is very important to develop a system to detect steganography in a file. 

There is no easy way to detect a hidden file inside a file. You can’t just open the file to see if there is something suspicious; there needs to be a proper investigation. We’ll be exploring steganography detection in another article soon.

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Steganography is an effective way of secure communication. You can first encrypt a confidential file and then hide it inside an image of another kind of file before sending it to some other. It will decrease the chances of being intercepted. 

If you just send the file by encrypting it, the attacker will try to decrypt it by various ways. However, if he only finds a normal image file, he’ll have no clue. 

This technique is very easy to use but very difficult to detect. It can be used by government organizations to use as the way to send and receive files securely.

Pavitra Shankdhar
Pavitra Shankdhar

Pavitra Shandkhdhar is an engineering graduate and a security researcher. His area of interest is web penetration testing. He likes to find vulnerabilities in websites and playing computer games in his free time. He is currently a researcher with InfoSec Institute.