How to hide files in an image: The other night you saw a movie on TV in which two agents on a special mission exchanged secret messages by inserting them, in the form of text files, into images that were then sent by e-mail and now you would like to understand how you can possibly emulate the thing to communicate with your friends? It can be done and, I’ll tell you more, it’s also a great idea. Contrary to appearances, it is very easy to insert any type of file inside a JPG image (but not only) without having any technical knowledge. Just resort to the use of some special computer programs and it’s done. If you’re interested, I can tell you how to proceed and what resources to use.
With my tutorial today I just wanted to talk to you about how to hide files in an image , both by acting on textual elements and other types of data. As anticipated, you can do it using ad hoc software available for Windows and Mac that take advantage of steganography, that is the technique used since ancient Greece to hide a message between two interlocutors. Before showing you how to do this, however, I will show you how to hide your files inside images using WinRAR, the famous program to compress and decompress archives. Of course, this is not a dedicated resource but I can assure you that it can be quite useful also in this sense. Seeing is believing!
Then? Can I know what are you still doing with them? Position yourself comfortably in front of your trusted computer, take five minutes or so of free time and immediately begin to concentrate on reading everything below. In the end, you will see, you can say that you are happy and satisfied with what you have learned. Are you ready? Yes? Great. So let’s ban the talk and proceed. Good job”!
As I said at the beginning, a first system to hide the files in an image consists in resorting to the use of WinRAR , the famous program for Windows operating systems (in reality it is also available for Mac, but only from the command line) to compress and unzip files. By putting a special trick into practice, this software turns out to be an excellent ally in this sense. Let’s see immediately how he should be engaged for the purpose in question.
To begin with, download and install WinRAR on your computer by connecting to the program’s website and downloading the relevant installation file, then starting the latter and following the on-screen procedure that is proposed to you for setup (to further details on this you can refer to my dedicated tutorial ), in case you have not already done everything, obviously.
Then locate the image in JPG format and the file you want to hide inside on your computer. Then insert the file to be hidden in an archive in RAR format by right-clicking on it and choosing the appropriate item Add to the archive “nomearchivio.rar” attached to the contextual menu that you see appearing.
In the window that opens, assign a name to the RAR archive you are about to create, then search for Run in the Start menu , select the relevant result, type cmd in the field you find next to the item Open: in the Run window and click OK .
In the further window that will open, type the following command: copy / b “C: image.jpg” + “C: archive.rar” “C: new image.jpg” taking care to replace the image name with your image in JPG format, to archive the name of the generated RAR archive and to new image the name of the image that will be created.
Awards, then the key Enter on the keyboard and is first created the file nuovaimmagine.jpg in C: . By opening it with a graphics program you can view the image you started from. To recover hidden documents, simply change the file extension to .RAR and extract the archive.
At the end of the process, close the window that you had opened and move to the reference position. You will find a new image, called a new image.jpg . Opening it you will be shown the starting image. To recover the documents, change the extension from .JPG to .RAR and extract the archive.
If you can not see the extension and therefore not even change it, proceed first as shown below depending on the version of Windows you are using (for more details, refer to my dedicated tutorial just how to rename file extension )
- On Windows XP , open any folder in Windows Explorer , click on the Tools item located at the top of the window that appears and select the Folder Options item from the menu that has opened. In the window that opens, click on the Display tab , remove the check mark from the item Hide extensions for known file types and click first on Apply and then on OK to save the settings.
- On Windows Vista and Windows 7 , open any folder and select the Folder and search options item from the Organize menu located at the top left and then click on the View tab , remove the check mark located next to the Hide extensions for types item of known files and presses first on Apply and then OK to save the settings.
- On Windows 8 / 8.x and Windows 10 , open any folder and select the View item located at the top then press the Show / Hide button and affix a check mark on the box located next to the File extensions item .
If you find the above steps too cumbersome but the fact of resorting to the use of a compression software to hide the files in an image interests you, the advice I can give you is to rely on Jpg + FileBinder . As easily understood from the name itself, it is an extremely simple program to use that allows you to hide files of various kinds, previously inserted in a compressed archive, in images in JPG format. It’s free, intuitive enough, requires no installation and works with all versions of Windows.
To use it, first connect to the software download page and click on the Download button at the top left, then press the Softpedia Mirror EU button and wait a few moments for the Jpg + FileBinder file to be downloaded to your computer.
Then, extract the compressed archive obtained in any position of Windows, click on the executable present inside it and click on Run in the screen you see appearing. Once the Jpg + FileBinder window appears on the desktop, click on the Picture button and select the image in JPG format in which you want to hide your file.
Now, locate the file you want to hide inside the image and compress it in a ZIP, RAR or 7Z archive using the aforementioned WinRAR or other useful resources for the purpose (for more information about the operations to be performed and the software to be used to achieve it , see my article dedicated to programs to compress files ). Then press the Compressed file button in the Jpg + FileBinder window and select the compressed archive created previously.
To conclude and therefore to generate your image with the file to be hidden inside, press the Output Picture File button , indicate the position in which to save the returned image, assign it a name as desired by typing it in the appropriate field and click on the OK button in the main program window twice in succession. Et voila !
At this point, the generated image will behave like a very common JPG file and can be opened with any image viewer. To view the hidden file inside it, however, it will be necessary to use WinRAR or another program to compress files. In fact, just change the extension to .ZIP , .RAR or .7Z proceeding as seen together in the previous step and then open the file using the compression software.
If what you are using is a Mac and not a PC, the above solutions for hiding files in an image are not suitable. To succeed in your intent on macOS you can however use iSteg . This is a zero-cost application specific for Apple brand computers through which text files and other types of documents can be hidden inside images in JPG format. The generated files can also be encrypted, making them illegible by those who do not know the specific password. Let’s see in detail how it works.
To use it, first connect to the program’s website and then press the Download iSteg 1.6.2 link in the Download section in order to download the program to your Mac. Then, extract the compressed archive obtained and drag the iSteg icon that was present inside it into the macOS Applications folder . Right-click on it and select Open twice in a row to confirm your willingness to open the program by circumventing the limitations imposed by Apple against unauthorized developers.
Once the program window is displayed on the desk, press the [+] button that corresponds to the wording Source Picture File: and open the image on the Mac you want to use to hide your file. Then press the [+] button next to the wording Source Text File: and select the file that you intend to hide inside the image.
Then fill in the field below the wording Password: with the password, in fact, with which you want to protect the opening of the file to be hidden (or generate a random one by clicking on the [+] button next to it), click on the Process button , specify the destination location of the file and press OK (by default the image will be saved with the output name )
The image generated with the application can then be viewed as any other JPG file, then with an image viewer or a graphics program. Or, to display the hidden files inside will need to use iSteg, opening the image reference in section soruce Picture File: . It will also be necessary to type the related password in the appropriate field, remove the check from the Encode box : located at the bottom, press on Process and select the destination position.
Step (Windows / Mac)
To conclude, I want to talk to you about Steg . It is a free program that can be used on both Windows and Mac. It can be used without having to perform any installation and allows you to hide text to be written at the moment or various files within images, not only in JPG but also BMP, PNG, PPM and TIFF. You ask me how to use it? I’ll show you right away.
Connect to the download page attached to the program’s website, press on the link to download the software you find under the Download Link item : in correspondence with the name of the operating system you are using and click on the button with the down arrow that is in top right.
Then select the photo you want to use to hide the text or files by pressing the Open JPG image button at the top left if it is a JPG file or the one immediately to the left if it is another file format
Then click on the button with the three colored bars at the top, select the Embed a text message box: and type your text in the field below. Choose whether to encrypt the text by selecting, the method you prefer (from the menu below) and type in a password of your choice then press OK .
If instead of the text written at the moment you want to hide any other type of file inside the image, press the button with the cassette and the green arrow down at the top of the window, select the reference file and presses OK .
Finally press the button with the floppy disk that you always find in the upper part of the software window, select the location on your computer where to save the image and it is done.
The content hidden within the image’s hymn can always be viewed via Steg, by clicking on the button with the cassette and the green arrow upwards in the software toolbar and choosing the destination location in which to save the hidden file that will be extracted.