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A handful of techniques for keeping critical information away from wandering eyes are available, such as cryptography and steganography. Not only can these methods aid in privacy (if used correctly), but they also continue to protect information even if the data has been intercepted or stolen.

Key Points

  • Hiding something effectively is difficult.
  • You can hide information by covering it up (obfuscation), disguising it (steganography), or putting it somewhere safe (cryptography).
  • You can’t use something that’s hidden. It is not possible to effectively hide something you need to access frequently.
  • No matter how well something is hidden, its location can be revealed when the hider accesses the item. So, the better hidden something is, the less convenient it is to access. Hiding something very well might be better for peace of mind than it is for practical security.


The most effective method for hiding information is cryptography. It’s also possible to hide information in more subtle ways, such as with steganography. When Steganography is combined with cryptography, the result is an extremely powerful data hiding technique. The following chapters explore how digital data is hidden, and how it can be found:

  • Cryptography explores the science and art of scrambling messages to keep the contents secret.

  • Cryptanalysis covers the science and art of code breaking.

  • Steganography looks at techniques for effectively hiding one piece of information.