Steganography may be a solution to sending data when secure lines are not readily available, especially in the instance when data can be intercepted. It is intended that the data can be sent between two parties without arousing suspicion, as opposed to encryption, where this may attract attention.
Some uses of Steganography:
• Freedom of Speech
• Data Exfiltration
• Terrorist Communications
• Child Pornography
I took a look back in 2015 into the search history of the search term “Steganography”.Although much more investigation could be achieved into the metrics of steganography and its popularity, I currently only have the time to update this blog post to see if any differences have occurred in the last three years. The metrics would be an interesting area of exploration for future research. I have updated some of the graph data where possible to reflect recent changes for 2018.
In 2001 it was an extremely popular term due to the public, and academics assuming of it use within the 9/11 attacks. With this, there began some investigation into its use within the public domain. Since then there has been a steady decline in the search metrics, which seems to have continued to this date.
However below shows the peaks that were seen during two periods of high activity, during this time the traffic for searching the term steganography nearly doubled in popularity. The increased traffic being within the month of September and October 2014. The first peak shows a rise in searches resulting from India, the second was found to be attributed to USA. It is believe geo-political events can impact possibly its search metric, however after some research on what was happening around this time, I think one of the peaks could be attributed to the general publics interest, as steganography appeared on a mainstream program in the USA 🙂
Interest over time – research undertaken 2015
In 2015 the countries that showed a prominent interest into the area of steganography are India, Iran, USA and the UK.
However now when reviewing the past five years data, things have changed somewhat with Googles data. As we can see India is still top of the list but other regions have taken over. We can clearly see the two spikes from 2014 which are really prominent now we have a longer data time line to look against, it would be good to dig deeper to see what may have caused these spikes further and get clarification on this.
Interest over time – research undertaken 2018
Steganography vs Cryptography
Cryptography vs Steganography – research undertaken 2015
Cryptography vs Steganography – research undertaken 2018
Google now provides the ability to see search terms used on YouTube. Below shows this data, which looks much more volatile than the general website search. Which shows a peak with cryptography around the start of 2017. Also other countries seem to come onto the top ten list. However within Indonesia cryptography and steganography appears to be of a strong interest.
Cryptography vs Steganography – research undertaken 2018 – Youtube
Cryptography and Steganography are quite specialist fields to be searching for. With this is mind a generalist search term was used and “how to hide files” was looked into. This was trying to replicate more layman terms, possibly used by general users.
“How to hide files” search term – research undertaken 2015
It appears that “how to hide files” is starting to decline now also, however it has had a few peaks. Once again the country listing has changed. I also noted that there were operating system specific searches such as “how to hide files on android” and “how to hide files windows 8″recommended for data searches.
“How to hide files” search term – research undertaken 2018
I literally could spend all night drilling down into data and search terms to break these down further and see if any interesting research comes from it. Its more to give you the idea yourself to possibly look into these things for yourself. If you would like to and find anything of interest please do let me know. Take a look on Google Trends for yourself !