cover your tracks
How to Hide a Secret
Everyone has secrets. In the form of hidden valuables or personal information, your secrets can be very expensive if they were to fall into the wrong hands. Personal secrets, like private photographs or your Internet tracks, can be damaging to your reputation if they were to come under public scrutiny. From PIN numbers to which website you visited yesterday, knowing how to properly hide a secret is of the highest concern if you wish to protect your privacy and finances.
Hiding Secrets In The Real World
Hiding an object is often the most difficult part of the secret keeping process. Tangible objects, such as jewelry or cash, are much easier to find than secrets hidden in the digital world. The hiding spot you choose for your secret must be appropriate to the object. For example, hiding a small supply of spare cash for emergencies does not present nearly the same logistical problems as hiding a weapons cache in preparation for zombie invasions. The hiding of breakable or perishable objects, like collectibles or food, also necessitate different storage requirements.
Hiding objects in plain sight is very simple if thought goes into the process. A supply of emergency cash can be placed into an envelope and hidden on the bottom side of your dresser drawer or simply taped to the back of a picture that is hanging on your wall. Many people hide money or paperwork in their freezers or tucked into a book on their shelves. Larger objects can be hidden above ceiling tiles or between the mattresses of your bed. If you look around the rooms of your home, you will likely discover several very good places to hide small objects.
Hiding secrets outside of the home is another option. While you expose yourself to a greater risk of having your secret stash discovered and stolen from you when hiding your secrets outside of the home environment, this option is sometimes the only route available. The best outdoor hiding places for secrets are natural enough to blend in to their surroundings but unique enough for you to identify them later when you return to collect your cached belongings. Good options for hiding secrets outdoors include natural caves, hollow trees and similar places.
Section 2 Hiding Secrets In The Digital World
There are two basic kinds of secrets in the digital world. Digital secrets are either Information or Personal. Both types of secrets can cause problems for the secret keeper if they come under scrutiny.
Hiding Information secrets in the digital realm is a fairly easy process. With the invention of wonderful encryption and steganography software came the ability to hide very important secrets from the prying eyes of those who might try to steal your information.
Encryption alters the data that you are trying to keep secret using a special algorithm. Only users who know the algorithm you have used can decrypt the data and read it in the original form.
Steganography takes the process of hiding digital secrets a bit further. The various steganography tools can encrypt your data into another less interesting file, for instance, a picture of your mother in law. Now when anyone who doesn't have access to the program you encrypted the file with looks at it, all they see is the picture. All of your information is there and waiting for you to decrypt it but it is stored in among the bits and bytes of data that form the picture.
Keeping Personal secrets hidden in the digital world can be just as important as preserving the integrity of your information secrets. A visit to a questionable website while your wife was out of town or a gossip loaded instant message to a coworker may have seemed like a good idea at the time but the results of these secrets exploding into the public view can be devastating. To protect your secrets, use one of the many freeware programs, like CCleaner or CleanUp!, to remove your tracks when you are through browsing the Internet for the day or use the browser history delete feature in supported browsers. If your browser has an auto completion feature for filling in forms or the search bar, turn it off and delete the history. As an added bonus, keeping your personal secrets cleaned up will make your computer run much faster as it will not become bogged down with excess cookies and temporary files.
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Steganography by Neil F. Johnson
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