In the medical profession this could be used when there is a transfer of image from one medical office to another medical office. If the sending medical office needs to include explanatory notes of what the receiving medical office should be focusing on, this could be accomplished with steganography.
It can also be used to protect sensitive and valuable information from theft, unauthorized viewing, or potential damage by hiding the message within an unsuspicious image.
Messages in audio and video files are hard to detect because of continuous flow of information hence this form of steganography can be used to transfer secret information easily.
Audio steganography exploits the property of the human ear to hiding information it is not seen. The secret information is sent in a sound which is less audible than the sound that conceals it. It can be used by the intelligence agencies for transmitting their secret information.
One-way hashing in steganography can be used to ensure that a third party has not tampered with a sent message. This is accomplished by creating a hash of the message using a fixed character length for every item in the message, when the original items are of dynamic character length. The hash is encrypted and sent with the message. When the recipient receives the message, it is decoded. If the hash from the decoded message does not match the hash from the encrypted message, both the sender and recipient of the message know that it has been tampered with.
To avoid the transmission of information which can be easily captured on its way to the recipient the information can be posted on the web using steganography.
It is easier to maintain anonymity with steganography.
It can used as a potential barrier between any unauthorized breach and the valuable data by hiding the data in the network.
It could also be used to further confuse the origination and endpoint of data because some procedural packets are simply very common, and mostly ignored. A trained malware analyst could take hours to weeks to identify when and how the system was compromised. A well-designed network steganographic program may be able to withstand for a longer duration.
Another possible use is embedding a mobile telephone conversation into an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) video conferencing system. It is possible to do so without changing the quality of the video much, and with the correct key, one could decode the conversation.
Watermarking, a type of steganography, is widely used in fingerprinting. This technique involves inserting a different watermark into each copy of a file to monitor the recipients of the file. Therefore, one can trace back illegally produced copies to the original receiver. Watermarking is proved to be useful in providing information regarding the copy status of a file as this method can detect the manipulation of the original file.
Human rights organizations utilized this technology to collect data from witnesses who saw government officials murdering or harming civilians. One of the examples is the civil war in Guatemala that killed over 100,000 people. A majority of those killed were Mayan Indians, and many survivors refused to give testimonies out of fear. However, the International Center for Human Rights Research collected over 5000 testimonies in one year, with the help of data encryption.
Most uses of steganography and research around the topic of steganography revolve around the illegitimate purposes. The three biggest areas of illegitimate steganography evolve around terrorism, pornography and data theft.
Digital steganography applications are often utilized to rob valuable information by transferring the information outside the restricted computing setting, through boundary protection mechanisms, to anyone on the outside.
If the decrypting script has been abused or ruined or interfered with then the information that had been transferred could be easily considered as destroyed or unchangeable.
If the passphrase for the steganography utility as in the steghide utility for Linux based platform is put in jeopardy by either destroying it or forgotten, then again retrieval of the secret information would be nearly impossible.
Also, it is believed that the concept of steganography was used to coordinate and execute the attack of 9/11. This concept gained popularity and has been widely worked upon. This implies that the studies would reveal several ways which can compromise the confidentiality of the hidden information and lead to misuse of secret information through unauthorized users.
By using the steganography mechanism many terrorists and anti-humanist activities have occurred.
Although, it is very similar to images in steganography, the larger size of audio files containing the hidden messages makes them less popular to use than images. Moreover, higher size of files can easily catch attention of malicious users.
An insider could use a steganography application to rob valuable financial information from a reputed firm, that could result in illegal insider trading which could affect U.S. financial markets and, by logical extension, U.S. economic security.
An insider could use a steganography application to reveal critical vulnerabilities to mischievous hackers contributing in a cyber-attack with disastrous effects on key components of the Internet and the U.S. information technology infrastructure.
Considering any critical infrastructure sector that relies on Process Control Systems or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) technology to control critical functions and processes. An insider could use a steganography application to reveal critical vulnerabilities or key process parameters that could facilitate an attack on key components of any, or all, of the sectors.
File sizes are generally higher after employing steganography. The challenges accompanying the process of scanning for any small, non-impacting inconsistency for every file that enters or leaves the system are huge as it causes performance impact. It does not appear to be feasible and logical to check each file entering or leaving the system in such depth
Steganography is commonly used to hide data departing from an organization, secretly send commands to infected machines, and smuggle malware across existing defenses. It becomes almost impossible to detect.
If the size of the original file is already known or estimated, then that could be a potential threat to the excess of the memory that it would show in its properties. It would not go unnoticed by a hacker who is constantly monitoring the incoming and outgoing files.