Stegseek - Worlds Fastest Steghide Cracker, Chewing Through Millions Of Passwords Per Second

Stegseek is a lightning fast steghide cracker that can be used to extract hidden data from files. It is built as a fork of the original steghide project and, as a result, it is thousands of times faster than other crackers and can run through the entirety of rockyou.txt* in under 2 seconds.

Stegseek can also be used to extract steghide metadata without a password, which can be used to test whether a file contains steghide data.

* rockyou.txt is a well-known password list with over 14 million passwords.

Demo: random rockyou.txt password (in real time)

Skip ahead to Performance for some raw numbers.


The following instructions walk you through the installation process. Alternatively, you can run Stegseek in a Docker container. Skip ahead to Docker for instructions.



On Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems, you can use the provided .deb package for installation:

  1. Download the latest Stegseek release
  2. Install the .deb file using sudo apt install ./stegseek_0.4-1.deb

On other systems you will have to build Stegseek yourself. See for more information.


Building Stegseek as a native Windows app is sadly not supported. Instead you should run Stegseek using WSL. The Ubuntu WSL distribution is recommended for optimal compatibility.
Once you have configured WSL, Stegseek can be installed using the above Linux instructions.

By default, WSL mounts the C:\ drive at /mnt/c/, which you can use to easily access your files.

Using Stegseek


The most important feature of stegseek is wordlist cracking:

stegseek [stegofile.jpg] [wordlist.txt]

This mode will simply try all passwords in the provided wordlist against the provided stegofile.

Detection and passwordless extraction

Stegseek can also be used to detect and extract any unencrypted (meta) data from a steghide image. This exploits the fact that the random number generator used in steghide only has 2^32 possible seeds, which can be bruteforced in a matter of minutes.

stegseek --seed [stegofile.jpg]

This command will tell you:

  • Whether this file actually contains steghide content.
  • How much hidden content the file contains.
  • How the content was encrypted .

If you're (very) lucky and the file was encoded without encryption, this mode will even recover the encoded file for you!

In this demo I used a very secure random password to embed a file, but disabled encryption by passing the -e none argument to steghide. Within a few minutes, Stegseek is able to recover the embedded file.

Available arguments

Use stegseek --help to get the full list of available options:

Stegseek version  0.4

=== Stegseek Help ===
To crack a stegofile:
stegseek [stegofile.jpg] [wordlist.txt]

--crack Crack a stego file using a wordlist. This is the default mode.
--seed Crack a stego file by attempting all embedding patterns.
This mode can be used to detect a file encoded by steghide.
In case the file was encoded without encryption, this mode will
even recover the embedded file.
Positional arguments:
--crack [stegofile.jpg] [wordlist.txt] [output.txt]
--seed [stegofile.jpg] [output.txt]

Keyword arguments:
-sf, --stegofile select stego file
-wl, --wordlist select the wordlist file
-xf, --extractfile select file name for extracted data
-t, --threads set the number of threads. Defaults to the number of cores.
-f, --force overwrite existing files
-v, --verbose display detailed information
-q, --quiet hide performance metrics

Use "stegseek --help -v" to include steghide's help.


Stegseek includes nearly all of steghide's functionality, so it can also be used to embed or extract data as normal. The only catch is that commands must use the --command format.
So steghide embed [...] becomes stegseek --embed [...] .


You can also run Stegseek as Docker container:

docker run --rm -it -v "$(pwd):/steg" rickdejager/stegseek [stegofile.jpg] [wordlist.txt]

This does require that the wordlist and stegofile are located in current working directory, as that folder is mounted to /steg inside of the container.


This is where Stegseek really shines. As promised, let's start with the "rockyou.txt in just 2 seconds" claim.
All of these numbers are measured on a laptop with an Intel i7-7700HQ CPU @ 2.80GHz and 8 GB of RAM.


I picked the last password in rockyou.txt without control characters: "␣␣␣␣␣␣␣1" (7 spaces followed by '1').
This password is on line 14344383 out of 14344391

time stegseek 7spaces1.jpg rockyou.txt 
Stegseek version 0.4
[i] Read the entire wordlist (14344391 words), starting cracker
[ 14231679 / 14344391 ] (99,21%)
[i] --> Found passphrase: " 1"

[i] Original filename: "secret.txt"
[i] Extracting to "7spaces1.jpg.out"

real 0m1,912s
user 0m10,355s
sys 0m0,144s

And there it is, over 14 million passwords in less than 2 seconds

How does this compare to other tools?

To test the performance of of other tools, I created several stego files with different passwords, taken from rockyou.txt. I ran each of the tools with their default settings, except Stegbrute where I increased threading for a fair comparison.

password Line Stegseek v0.4 Stegcracker 2.0.9 Stegbrute v0.1.1 (-t 8)
"cassandra" 1 000 0.9s 3.1s 0.7s
"kupal" 10 000 0.9s 14.4s 7.1s
"sagar" 100 000 0.9s 2m23.0s 1m21.9s
"budakid1" 1 000 000 0.9s [p] 23m50.0s 13m45.7s
"␣␣␣␣␣␣␣1" 14 344 383 1.9s [p] 5h41m52.5s [p] 3h17m38.0s

[p] = projected time based on previous results.

To compare the speed of each tool, let's look at the last row of the table (otherwise Stegseek finishes before all threads have started).

At this scale Stegseek is over 10 000 times faster than Stegcracker and over 6000 times faster than Stegbrute.




  • Added seed cracking to allow for passwordless data extraction
  • Overhauled parser to allow for positional arguments
  • cracks rockyou.txt in 2 seconds



  • Made threading lock-free s.t. multiple threads are used more efficiently
  • Added -xf argument to --crack, used to specify the location of the extracted file
  • Made the .deb package compatible with Debian/Kali
  • cracks rockyou.txt in 4 seconds



  • Give up on a passphrase once a single bit of the magic fails to decode
  • Removed costly BitString / EmbData allocations
  • Improved performance of the selector
  • cracks rockyou.txt in 5 seconds.


Initial release, features:

  • Only loads the stego file once, unlike conventional crackers
  • Workpool based threading
  • Attempts to crack the first 3 bytes first, before attempting full decryption
  • Added .deb package and docker container
  • cracks rockyou.txt in 41 seconds.

Stegseek - Worlds Fastest Steghide Cracker, Chewing Through Millions Of Passwords Per Second Stegseek - Worlds Fastest Steghide Cracker, Chewing Through Millions Of Passwords Per Second Reviewed by Zion3R on 8:30 AM Rating: 5