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Secretbook: New App Lets You Hide Messages in Facebook Pictures

By Jules Ebe on April 11th 2013

Secretbook is a new app that allows users to hide any message in a Facebook picture. 21-year-old Owen Campbell-Moore’s plugin allows anyone with access to Google Chrome to hide messages in uploaded JPEGs.

secret book app

Campbell-Moore developed the browser extension as apart of a computer science project at Oxford University. The algorithm he developed allows people to hide up to 140 character notes (depending on the size of the original image), which can only be unlocked using a password through the social networking site.

secret book pop up

How Does It Work

The program hides messages within the millions of images that are uploaded to Facebook. By changing a pixel to a different color, it then replicates it within different pictures to spell out a message. Now the message can be accessed by someone who knows the password and which picture to look for. A small pop-up screen is then shown to the viewer with the embedded message.

compression sample

Using the Google Chrome web extension platform also creates a barrier for Facebook to detect, and therefore hinder the transmissions.

A Clear and Present Agitation?

When I tested this out for myself, I noticed some compression issues with a letter being changed here and there. With that aside, all in all, it is a pretty remarkable piece of programing. The undercurrent fear of terrorists using the technology is there, right out of a crime drama. Yet, the system is not completely secure, and therefore not a fool-proof method of communication. Still, that does not leave the application without its critics.

What are your thoughts?

Until Next Time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules

[via Wired]


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.


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  1. woofa

    For those of you that can’t bother to read or don’t understand the issues with steganography and Facebook… Facebook re-compresses your images when you upload them. It strips out all existing steganography as used in the traditional sense as well as all your EXIF. The notable but hardly useful idea being addressed here is that this guy figured out how to apply steganography in a way that it wouldn’t be lost. I don’t find it that significant in any way except that he was able to achieve this even tho FB re-compresses the images which subverts all other steganography methods. Try learning something before you comment.

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  2. Neil

    Steganography has been known and available for years. Many millions were spent looking for traces of it on publicly accessible images on the interwebs. Google is your friend if you want to know more. If you are interested in how to do it right, search for steghide (a free and open source steganography tool available since at least 2003)

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  3. suǝddıʃıɥԀ ǝʞıW

    This idea is as old als JPEG itself. It’s no rocket science either. These kind of files are perfect to hide something. But rest asured, this app is worthless for terrorists, at least a ‘good’ one. I’m sure this program leaves some kind of fingerprint in the image file so that the plugin ‘knows’ it has to process the image. This makes it easy for law enforcement to identify images with the hidden content.
    If I was a criminal, I’d use something that does not give itself away. Like TrueCrypt, which doesn’t use a specific file header, so it’s impossible to use an automated scanner to look for it’s files.

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  4. Gabriel Mora

    I saw something very similar while watching an episode of one of those cop TV shows (Law & Order, CSI, cannot remember) … Therefore I think the idea has been out there already… Pretty cool for buddies or BFFs to share some messages (Kind of what we used to do in High School / Elementary with coded paper messages or “invisible” potato ink)

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