Stegoseed: Hiding Bitcoin Seed Keys In Plain Sight

Stegoseed: Hiding Bitcoin Seed Keys In Plain Sight

James Stanley, a Bristol-based software developer, has developed a tool that steganographically encodes Bitcoin wallet seeds. Stegoseed essentially gives Bitcoin users the ability to hide funds in plain sight.

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Steganographically Concealing Bitcoin Seeds

Stegoseed: Hiding Bitcoin Seeds In Plain Sight
James Stanley creator of stegoseed.

Stanley’s stegoseed is a tool that enables Bitcoin users to encode and decode BIP39 seeds steganographically. Steganography is the art of concealing images, messages, files, or video within another one of these four mediums. The practice of obscuring messages in this fashion was first recorded in 440 BC.

Stegoseed allows users to hide a seed phrase in randomly-generated text, or hide the seed in an existing piece of text. The output stegoseed creates is a series of sentences containing the BIP39 words given by the user. The words are “in the correct order, and do not contain any other BIP39 words — We can simply remove all non-BIP39 words to retrieve the original seed,” details the platform’s developer. Stanley also provides an example of his work by re-wording an existing news article using a loaded BIP39 wallet seed.

“I manually removed all of the existing BIP39 words from the article, and then inserted the words corresponding to my own BIP39 wallet seed,” explains Stanley. “It contains some funds as a prize for whoever sweeps it first (update: this has been taken).”

Stegoseed: Hiding Bitcoin Seeds In Plain Sight

‘More Creative Ways of Safely Backing Up Wallets’

Bitcoin.com chatted with James Stanley, and he told us why he created a tool that conceals seeds and the possible benefits of utilizing this steganographic method.

“I love coming up with fun ways to hide wallet seeds,” Stanley tells Bitcoin.com. “We don’t need anything like this for traditional banking because the legal system pretty much guarantees that even if somebody gains access to your bank account, you’ll eventually get your money back. Bitcoin has no such guarantee, so as Bitcoin gains adoption I think we’ll see more creative ways of safely backing up wallets.”

Now Stanley does not suggest publicly uploading your seed online even if you use a steganographically encoded phrase. However, it may be a good method to store your keys at your house where a random thief will likely have no idea what it is, explained Stanley.

“I can see two classes of use cases for paper seeds in general: when you want to backup your wallet long-term, and when you need to travel somewhere where you can’t trust that your hardware wallet or other devices won’t be stolen or tampered with,” Stanley added.

In either case your adversary is a human who only has access to your stuff for a short period of time, and you only need your seed to stay secret for long enough that they don’t work out what it is. As long as they don’t take it with them, you’re home free. I think hiding the seed inside an innocuous block of text is a great way to help with that.

Stanley says he enjoys playing with Bitcoin, Tor, and cryptography in general. The software developer has also created SMS Privacy, a platform that allows users to buy mobile phone numbers anonymously for bitcoin. Stegoseed is another example of Stanley’s devotion to privacy and cryptographic methods using Bitcoin.

What do you think about Stegoseed? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay and James Stanley.


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