Steganography and You: When what you see isn’t all you get.


Welcome to the Casual Steganographer! (Or Stego for short!)

If you‘re keen on hiding things inside of other things I hope you’ll find the reading interesting here. Semiregularly, you’ll find different topics in steganography, with thought experiments, history lessons, and even code for projects and tutorials, when it’s called for.

A bad joke. Image by author.

Who am/are I/we? The answer is left as an exercise for the reader.¹ There’s certain to be plenty of clues to narrow down the pool of candidates. Our small team proposes that there are no less than 30 tells to differentiate folks who enjoy starting a steganography blog from the general public, with two of those involving unkempt hair and a far-off look always planted on their face.

A “not so casual” stego. Image by Author. [DALL·E]

Cards on the table, here’s two reasons we’re drawn to the field:

1. An early love of puzzles, riddles and all things spy-related.

2. A learned love for semiotics, the study of meaning-making.

There‘s beauty in hiding a message in plain view, especially when you know one is front of you. When we dismantle the inherent ‘meaning’ or ‘form’ of objects and ideas and then compare their basic elements, patterns, or structures, we’ll inevitably find overlapping characteristics, patterns, or associations. This ability to imbue meaning into the inert is one of our most fascinating, and historically problematic, traits we possess as humans.

…this ability to imbue meaning into the inert is one of our most fascinating, and historically problematic, traits we possess as humans.

Now, what is Steganography?²

At its core, steganography is just the practice of hiding information in “plain view”. It can be as simple as tuning into a whisper at a crowded party, and as complex as encoding messages onto DNA itself. Maybe a bit of a dry topic at first, but a steganographic mindset sees the true depth and richness of the world.

The discovery of symbol. Image by Author. [DALL·E]

Did you ever have one of those magic eye books as a kid, the ones where you have to squint your eyes to see the picture underneath? What about writing out an acrostic for a class, where every letter forms a line of a poem or turn of phrase? If so, Congratulations! You’re officially a casual Steganographer!

In fact, you’re practicing steganography right now. These pixels on your screen forming the letters you’re reading have no inherent value to them, but string them together in a fashion you and I were both taught to recognize and suddenly some meaning springs into your mind. It becomes automatic for us to miss the processing and understanding. But if we take a step back and relax our eyes, we start to see the hidden messages around us, and even learn how to hide our own meaning in plain sight.

Easter Eggs and Stegosaurus Below

If you’re still interested, an exciting component of this blog are some easter eggs for fellow casual steganographers, like our mascot Steg here.

Steg, the armchair steganographer. Image by Author. [DALL·E]

Additionally, in each article (including this one you’ve been reading) there will be information hidden by a steganographic method, what we’re calling “Steg’s Eggs” (apologies). This information, in the form of a 25 word mnemonic, will provide access to a Monero Wallet containing an amount equivalent to $5 at the time of transfer.

An example of a Monero mnemonic recovery phrase.

These eggs will get progressively more difficult to find, so sticking around early has its benefits. Also, this is meant to incentivize learning, so don’t take it too seriously, and happy hunting. But just to be safe here’s some boiler-plate legalese.

Legalese Disclaimer regarding Embedded Digital Wallets:

The articles published under The Casual Steganographer may contain “Embedded Digital Wallets” as an educational exercise designed to promote critical thinking, analytical skills, and problem-solving. These wallets, henceforth referred to as “Embedded Educational Wallets,” are in no way intended to serve as a promotional campaign or endorsement of any particular cryptocurrency, including but not limited to Monero or any other digital currency mentioned or inferred.

The primary purpose of these Embedded Educational Wallets is to encourage readers to explore the nuances of steganography, cryptography, and digital forensics, fostering an environment of learning and curiosity.

By accessing, reading, or engaging with the content, you acknowledge and agree to the following:

The Embedded Educational Wallets are not an investment opportunity, nor should they be construed as financial advice or a recommendation of any kind.

The value contained within each Embedded Educational Wallet is nominal and intended solely for the purpose of the educational exercise.

Casual Steganographer is not responsible for any actions taken by readers or third parties in relation to the Embedded Educational Wallets, including but not limited to their access, transfer, or use.

The inclusion of the Embedded Educational Wallets is not to be interpreted as a bounty program, promotional campaign, or any form of financial incentive. It serves solely as a practical illustration of the topics discussed.

All readers are encouraged to approach the Embedded Educational Wallets with caution, due diligence, and a spirit of academic inquiry.

Please engage with the content responsibly and prioritize education and learning above all else.

End of Legalese Disclaimer regarding Embedded Digital Wallets

Reach out to [] with your own thoughts on articles or requests for collaboration, or even your best guess as to who your authors may be.³

Steg’s Eggs will be checked regularly, and once successfully cracked, a walkthrough will be posted.

Articles coming soon:

  • I ❤ You’s on the blockchain
  • A History of Smoke Signals: The Original P2P Network
  • Isotopic Ink: When Elements Speak Louder Than Words

[1]: There’s nothing particularly interesting about us worth sleuthing out. But what’s another puzzle on the heap?

[2]: The etymology of Steganography comes from the greek {steganos} — meaning “roof” or “cover”. Also, {-graphia} — meaning description. Taken together, Steganography can be taken literally as “obscuring meaning”.

[3]: See [1].



The Casual Steganographer

Former academics who like puzzles and making projects to procrastinate on other projects.