CenturionSoft – Steganos review

cunning data encryption/concealment tool
Photo of CenturionSoft – Steganos
£30 + VAT

Over the ages, people have cunningly hidden secret documents inside other items – paintings, boxes, trees, that sort of thing. It’s been a common theme in spy thrillers, too. Steganos allows you to do the same thing with the data stored on your PC. Most people have documents that they consider to be secret. Whether they’re actually of any interest or relevance to other people is sometimes questionable, but there are very good reasons to keep business and financial information private.

One of the two main components of Steganos is its encryption engine. Using an almost inconceivably high 2048-bit level encryption, it would be very hard indeed to determine the contents of a file once it had been encrypted using Steganos. But if you encrypt something, you invite curiosity. Anyone discovering an encrypted file will wonder what it contains. A hacker will probably attempt to break into it, and probably fail, but the fact remains that encrypted files cause suspicion.

And that’s where the other component of Steganos comes into play. This program can hide data files inside other files, making the original data invisible. Any type of file can be hidden. The ‘carrier’ file types include image files (BMPs are a good choice because they contain plenty of ‘noise’), sound files and even ASCII or HTML documents, although these are less secure. As long as the carrier file is large enough, there will be no indication that it contains hidden data. Images can still be viewed, sound files played back, text documents read. Even scanning the carrier with a hex editor will reveal little or no indication of the true contents, but Steganos can extract the hidden data once the correct password has been given.

Using the program’s Wizard, you can choose whether to encrypt, hide or both. Select a file to be hidden, then select the carrier file and Steganos will do the rest. It’s all very straightforward, but the result is one of the most secure forms of privacy ever seen on the PC.

Company: CenturionSoft

Contact: 01202 716726


Verdict
Encryption is good. Concealment is good. Both together are extremely good indeed. Steganos is easy to use, secure, fast and leaves little or no clue that the carrier file contains anything other than legitimate data. It has potential for misuse, of course, but the developers can hardly be held accountable for human nature.