*Note: This article was originally published by the author on December 16, 2018.
For all of my curious types and puzzle lovers out there, here is a challenge to readers to find the hidden use of digital steganography that will be secretly embedded somewhere within my post using various methods. There may be multiple hidden files within a single post, but at least one. The hidden files will not contain any malicious code, and I may post clues within the body of the text and/or imagery that may be of assistance in solving the challenge.
You will not be told which steganalysis techniques or tools to use until I publish the results of the “Steg Challenge_monthYear_Answers” for a particular month’s challenge. I have already given away the fact that steg will be used within the context of a particular post, making your task much easier. Normally, you would NEVER get such clues, but for the sake of teaching and learning, we’ll make an exception. However, you will not know where or how I have embedded the hidden information and it will almost always be password-protected. If you encounter a situation such as this, it might be time to dust off OphCrack or oclHashCat perhaps… Let the fun begin.
Depending on my personal schedule, I will post future steg challenges on the first day of each month and I’ll post the answer(s) on the last day of the month. So, that means that this month’s Steg Challenge_December 2018 will have the answers posted on December 31. Then you can expect a new Steg Challenge the following day or sometime soon thereafter depending on how busy I am at the moment.
You are free to complete the challenges on your own individually or collectively as a group. These will not be easy challenges. Well, perhaps at first they might be. However, you can rest assured that once I divulge a particular tactic, technique, or procedure (TTP), you probably won’t see me use it again. This is meant as a teaching and learning experience because many people (even InfoSec “experts”) know what steganography is, but they’ve never dabbled in it or used it.
Before you get carried away and start thinking, “I wonder if he was crazy enough to actually embed hidden files in some of the images contained within his previously published articles?” Hmmm, that’s a really good question… I suppose it is a possibility, isn’t it? I guess that is for me to know and you to find out. : ) Cicada 3301 this is not. Just a little fun and educational series of challenges to help people understand and recognize the security risks posed by digital steganography. What you don’t know can hurt you in life. You would do well to remember that!
So, starting with this post, there is a hidden file buried somewhere within. Good luck finding it. Here is a little intro to give you some clues and to get you started:
Steganography: How to Hide Secret Data Inside an Image or Audio File in Seconds
Steganography is the art of hiding information in plain sight, and in this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use Steghide…null-byte.wonderhowto.com
Congratulations if you successfully solve the challenge without referring to the answer post. The work involved forces you to learn, it’s part of the learning process. Embrace it, enjoy it, have fun with it. Don’t say I never gave you anything.😂