||Camera/Shy and Steganography
Steganography has no definition in
Webster's dictionary. The entry for Steganography
only refers you to Cryptography. So
what is Steganography (steg·a·nog·ra·phy)?
Simply, it is the hiding of messages
in graphics files, video files, audio files
and any other means that is not readily apparent.
Shaving someone's head, tattooing a treasure
map on their shaved head and then having the
person's hair grow back to hide the map, could
be a form of Steganography.
Camera/Shy, a program developed by
the group Hacktivismo,
uses steganography to hide messages in graphics
files. The raison d'être of this
program, according to the Hacktivismo web
site is, "Camera/Shy was developed
for democracy activists operating from behind
national firewalls". This program,
according to it's makers, will allow information
that would otherwise be banned, to reach the
citizenry of countries where Free Speech is
considered antigovernment and contrary to
the needs of the masses.
It should be noted that Hacktivismo is an
offshoot of the well known "hacker group",
of the Dead Cow. Because of this association,
they too, are considered a hacker group -
though Hacktivismo might argue this. And
being notorious, especially since 9-11, can
have it's down side. Shortly after Camera/Shy
was released, it was labeled a "hacker
tool" and at least one software company,
NetIQ, updated it's software to "help
the IT community combat Camera/Shy".
Regardless of your opinion on the issue, Camera/Shy,
for those who are interested, can effectively
encrypt and decrypt information into and from
graphics files (actually, at his point, only
.gif files). This program is open source
software which means it's not only free, but
it's in a constant state of development (is
this a good thing?).
Below is a .gif image I made. Some
Orcas swimming happily, looking for fish.
Encrypted in this picture is the first
five amendments of the Bill of Rights
(what is the first one?) . To see Camera/Shy
do it's thing, and view this hidden information,
1. Copy the URL of this web page onto
your clipboard by going up to the address
bar of your browser, click the URL, right
click and choose Copy.
2. Download Camera/Shy here
(1.3MB) - or the zipped
version (628KB). The program is a single
executable file that does not require installation.
Simply download the file and then double click
it to open Camera/Shy (the zipped version
you need to unzip first). A web page
might load in Camera/Shy, but just ignore
that for now.
3. Once Camera/Shy is open, go to the
top of the program window and in the 2 fields
where you see asterisks, replace the asterisks
with the word - happy. Do this
in both fields. Encrypted images require
a password to view the information hidden
4. Click the View menu on the
menu bar and uncheck "Don't show gif
5. Next to the password fields is an
address field where you can enter a web page
URL. Click the field, right click and
choose Paste. This should paste the
URL of this web page into the field. If
not, just type it in. Press enter to
go the web page.
6. You should be taken to this web
page. It will show up in the top left
window in Camera/Shy. Below the web
page window is another smaller window that
should have the URL of the Orca picture. Click
the URL. You should now see the text that
is hidden in the picture. It will show
up in the Camera/Shy browser window and in
a small window to the right. If you
don't see the URL for the Orca picture,
go back and reenter happy in the password
fields, and then reload the web page.
||Camera/Shy Screen Shot
That's all there is to it. All you need
to know is the web page that has a Camera/Shy
encrypted image file, and the password and
signature (signature is just a second password).
Along with viewing stegged images, you can
create them with Camera/Shy:
1. Open Camera/Shy. Click the
View menu and uncheck "Don't show
gif steg window" if it is checked.
2. You have 2 choices here, navigate
to a web page to encrypt or encrypt text from
To encrypt text from a file, you can enter
the path to the file in the Camera/Shy browser
window address field. Do this in the
format of f:///c:\docs\mydoc.txt. That
is, f:/// followed by the path to your text
file. You have to use a text file. No
MS Word or Excel files.
Instead of using the Camera/Shy browser window,
you can copy and paste the text in the little
window to the right that says "Content
to put in gif".
Note: The amount of information you
can encrypt is dependent on the size of the
image file. Camera/Shy will tell you how much
text you can encrypt. The bigger the
image file, the more text you can add.
3. Create a password and signature,
in the fields with the asterisks, at the top
of Camera/Shy. This is the password
and signature that others will enter to see
the text in the encrypted graphics file.
Once again, what Camera/Shy calls a signature
is just a second password. It can be
the same as the first password if you want.
4. Next, you need to load a .gif image
file that you will be encrypting. Click
the blue arrow up by the password fields that
says "Load Image" when you move
the mouse over it.
Note: At this time, Camera/Shy supports
only .gif image files.
5. Once you have your passwords set,
the image file loaded and text to encrypt
(or a web page), click either the "Encrypt
Text" button above the window where you
paste text, or click the "Encrypt current
web page" button above the Camera/Shy
browser window - depending on where you loaded
your information from.
6. Finally, go back to the top of the
program window and the click the blue arrow
"Unload and Save Image" when you
move your mouse over it.
You will now have an image file with encrypted
information that you can put on a web page
or email someone.
Camera/Shy is an effective steganography
tool. However, it could use some improvements.
The support of larger amounts of text
in smaller image files. Supporting more
image file types (in addition to .gif files),
and hopefully they will improve the Help in
the program. These are minor things,
and being an open source program, Camera/Shy
will only improve over time as different developers
add to the program... at least that is one
of the ideas behind open source software.
How you use Camera/Shy, if you do find a use
for it, is up to you. You can use it
for good or bad, the choice is yours.
Source Forge - you can find the latest build
of Camera/Shy here:
Other Steganography software:
A technical discussion of Steganography
Outguess - a program that can detect stegged
Another site discussing the defeat of stegged