Purpose: The aim of this research paper is to develop demonstrate the use of Stegacrypt – a software for Encrypting and Embedding Secret Digital Information to mitigate external threats in an Organizational information systems.
Design/methodology/approach: This new steganography scheme modifies the palettes of the carrier image by embedding one message bit of an encrypted file into each pixel in a Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) image. Passwords are used as identification schemes to prevent unauthorized use of the software and hybridization of encryption and steganography in the scheme provides an extra layer of security that cannot be easily outwitted by hackers.
Findings: Our findings showed that Stegacrypt does not suffering from visual degradation of stego images when compared with the original image file. The stability of Stegacrypt against attacks was ascertained by using StegalyzerSS, a digital forensic analyzer to launch pair values, RS and Chi-square attacks on stego-images embedded by the software. The result of the stego-analysis showed that Stegacrypt is able to withstand various forms of attack and can therefore be employed for covert transmission of information.
Research limitations/implications: This research shows that existing embedding software can be improved using the techniques adopted in Stegarypt.
Practical and Policy implications: Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) Image is the file format used as the carrier image for hidden messages in Stegacrypt. Other forms of image can be tested to see how they scale for embedding and encryption.
Social implications: This novelty will improve covert channel transmission of sensitive information and make the cyber space safer for users.
Originality/value: This research goes beyond encryption (which remains the most popular tool for security) to employ image embedding as a means of transmitting sensitive information on IS networks. We also improved on the preservation of the image carrier quality which is a problem suffered by existing stega-systems.
Keywords: Stegacrypt, Steganography, Cryptography, Ciphertext, Encryption, Decryption, Steganalysis, Protection, Covert, Cyber crime.