With the advent of social media platforms and pervasive free image hosting (for example, Amazon's recent "unlimited photo storage" for Prime members), I would like to take advantage of this to (surreptitiously?) store other types of data. Cursory web searches don't turn up much of anything.

I'm not interested in steganography, per se. Tools like steghide will embed data into JPEG images, sure -- but with very limited storage space inside of a container image.

What I want is a more space-efficient re-encapsulation of raw data into a JPEG file. The resulting image can (and should) look like garbage when rendered in a HTML page. That's fine with me. Obviously, this program should be free-ware/open-source. Additionally, this program should not store payloads within EXIF because such data are often stripped from images hosted on websites.

Ultimately, a browser plugin that could detect the presence of data "packaged" inside of images would be pretty cool.

Before I go out of my way to research and write such software, I want to know: does this tool already exist? Surely someone has already written something like this.

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    Raw idea: QR codes would match your description, maybe checking in that direction?
    – Izzy
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 6:48
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    If you don't care that the image looks like garbage, then we can just take a JPEG, leave the headers in place & replace all JPEG data with your data? Simple enough, if you can code ... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPEG#Syntax_and_structure. If not, which operating system? Does it have to be free, or do you have a budget?
    – Mawg
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 7:11
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    @Mawg : But, these images are beautiful impressionistic artwork! Yes, 4gb limit is fine. RAR and ZIP file formats handle this problem by spanning. Limits and what you describe can be handled via higher-level software control. I agree that using JPEG syntax and structure is the way to go. What I want to know if someone has already done this before I go out of my way to write a new implementation.
    – baitisj
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 17:29
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    @Izzy: Note that many online services strip EXIF data. Good thoughts. Slightly OT, but it is useful to narrow the scope of the question.
    – baitisj
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 17:32
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    @user3791372, I appreciate your perspective; I'm certain that you're right. I am interested in your motivations as to why you would mention this here.
    – baitisj
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


Although this is not a solution for JPEG containers, this illustrates a solution that will work with free Amazon Prime photo storage using a BMP container.

"Japanese user YDKK has developed a tool to store arbitrary data inside a .bmp file, which can then be uploaded to Amazon's service. A 1.44GB test image containing an executable file uploaded at over 250Mb/sec, far faster than typical cloud storage services that are rate limited and don't allow extremely large files."


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