How to Hide Confidential Data In Text Files

If you have some important confidential data, would you store them in a text file? I bet the answer is No. In this article, we are going to show you how you can easily hide your data inside a text file. You didn’t read me wrong. I am referring to the simple unencrypted unsecure text file created by NotePad. The following trick is very easy to implement and will works in Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. (Note: Your filesystem have to be NTFS for this to work).

What we are going to do is to make use of the NTFS’s Alternate Data Streams to store our sensitive data. The Alternate Data Streams allow us to hide stream in some file name. This data stream is not visible or shown when accessing the main file. So if you want to hide data like password, email address or bank A/C number, you can add those as a simple text and hide them as a stream in some file name.

Let’s get down to the dirty work:

Open command prompt and type the following syntax:

notepad AnyFileName.txt:SecretData.txt

text-command

Here “AnyFileName” is the actual filename of the text file while “SecretData.txt” is the hidden stream contained within AnyFileName.

A window will popup asking for your confirmatoin. Click Yes.

text-create-new

A notepad editor will appear. You can now type the sensitive data that you want to hide.

text-stream-content1

Go to File -> Save to save the file.

You can add more than one hidden stream in the same file. Simply type the same command (but with different stream name) to add the new stream.

Notice that the main file name is “AnyFileName.txt” and there are no clues from the exterior that it contains a hidden file within it.

How do I access the hidden data?

To read the hidden stream from command prompt type the syntax below:

more < FileName.txt:StreamName.txt

For instance in our example the command should be

more < AnyFileName.txt:SecretData.txt

text-read-stream-content

You will have to remember the file of your hidden stream in order to recover it from the text file.

How do I detect the hidden file if I’ve forgotten the file name?

Yes you can detect the hidden files using the application Stream.exe. This application will monitor all the files with the stream file name if they exist.

For instance the syntax of detecting the hidden stream is

streams.exe AnyFileName.txt

text-detect-hidden-streams

If you want to delete just the stream from the file then type this command:

streams.exe -d AnyFileName.txt

text-delete-hidden-streams

This command will delete all the streams from the file AnyFileName.txt.

The above process is very handy to store some private text data in your system. Unless the other users of your PC are tech savvy or hackers, the chances are they will never notice your little secrets.

If you are still not satisfied, you can further enhance the security of those files by making them inaccessible and undeletable.