"Security Through Obscurity" is a term a lot of geeks throw around but there are more than a few out there that don’t quite get what it means.

First I’ll tell you what security through obscurity isn’t.

  • It is not choosing a stronger password.
  • It is not anything that can be immediately identified as secured.
  • It does not ordinarily involve encryption of data.

Security through obscurity more or less means "hiding in plain sight". Where data storage is concerned it depends on hardware rather than software, and you’ll understand what I mean in a moment by that.

Here are three ways of using security through obscurity:

5.25 Floppy Diskettes


If you write data to a 5.25 floppy diskette, nobody else will be able to read it because save for vintage computer hobbyists, nobody has the drives. The data on the diskette can be completely unencrypted and it doesn’t matter, because who has a drive to read it?

And to date, unless someone can prove me wrong, there is no such thing as a USB-connected 5.25 floppy diskette drive you can actually buy. 3.5-inch yes, but 5.25-inch, no.

No, I’m not suggesting you write your sensitive data to 5.25 floppies, but it is a very good example of security through obscurity.

"Broken" USB Cable


The HACKED! USB Cable appears to be a plain cable that’s been ripped apart, but it isn’t. In fact, it is a fully-working USB drive that’s been made to look completely broken.

Data Files On Audio CD


This one involves a bit of know-how when it comes to writing data to CDs, but it is totally possible to write audio and data to the same disc. Nero Burning ROM allows you to do this easily. For anyone that pops the disc into a music player, it will play the audio present. When put in a computer, the data files can be accessed.

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If looking to hide data in plain sight, this is probably the easiest of the three.